Long Live Rex! Um, er . . . Jonathan?

My first post on this blog was about the cover of Blue Noon, book three of the Midnighters trilogy. So perhaps it’s appropriate that my real first post on the redesigned blog is the redesigned Blue Noon cover.

And it’s timely too, given that all three books of the trilogy are being re-released together on January 2!

So here’s the new Rex:


For reference, here are all three of the new covers together. That’s Jessica on book 1 and Melissa on book 2. (Poor Dess and Jonathan!)


You can pre-order the new look books now. Here are multi-store links for The Secret Hour, Touching Darkness, and Blue Noon. (Check to make sure the store you choose is showing the new cover!)

Anyway, now that you’ve seen all three covers, what do you guys think?

Update: It has been pointed out to me that this is actually Jonathan. He’s got the acrobat symbol over his eye, after all. Man, us authors can really miss the obvious sometimes.

Except, um, this guy doesn’t really look Hispanic. Hmm . . .

Many Specials

Okay, still at World Fantasy. Lots of cool YA authors here. Mostly have been hanging out with Garth Nix and the rest of the Aussie contingent, and keep running into Holly Black and Cassie Claire, who turn out to be in the same hotel as me.

More later on con activities, but first lots of Halloween cossies to share. From the Uglies books, this from Jamie and Nona:


And Tamir (too old to trick or treat, but went for the Special treatment anyway):


And finally Ally B. From Arkansas, who also dressed up to take some littlies out:


And this interpretation of Shay’s “nest of snakes” tattoo, from Colorific:


And Tara-wa as a Cutter:


And a trio of hoverboarding Smokies:


And from the Midnighters side of things, a darkling-proof pumpkin!


And Dess and Melissa:


Sorry if I missed anybody, I’m darting in and out of my hotel room. Hope you had great Halloweens!


A while back, a perplexed reader sent me a link to a movie with the following title: Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour.

The pitch for the film on MSN Movies reads: “A 17-year-old (newcomer Rissa Walters) returns to her hometown of Pine Valley just in time to discover a dark secret about two brothers and the terrors of the ‘paranormal hour’ between midnight and 1 a.m.”

To answer your burning question: this has nothing to do with me or Midnighters. And if you check out the movie’s website, you will see why that makes me breathe a sigh of relief. That has to be the most woeful trailer I’ve ever seen.

Hmm, the film stars Brian Comrie and Dan Comrie, and in the production credits we also find:

Director: Lisa Comrie
Screenwriter: John Comrie
Screenwriter: Lisa Comrie
Story: John Comrie
Producers: Fred Comrie, John Comrie, Lisa Comrie

Did the whole family get together over Labor Day and make this thing?

Still, this is not an outrage to Midnighters fans. “Paranormal time” doesn’t mean anything about time freezing, and in any case borrowing ideas is what genre is built on. (I love Heroes, for example, which is a massive mash-up of concepts stolen from decades of comics.)

But I do have one serious misgiving: this film looks so incredibly bad that it may single-handedly ruin the notion of midnight being in any way cool.

It opened back on October 19 and grossed a little over $500 per theater on its first weekend. Let’s do some math! About 51 people saw it per theater over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, which at $10 a ticket means about 17 people per day. And your average theater shows a film, what . . . six times a day? So about three people showed up for the average showing.


Did any of you see it?

More Fan Art

At our reading at Books Inc. tonight, we ran into more awesome fan art. Long-time commenter Liset came in with this retro Team David shirt:


And note the Midnighters-y line on the botttom: “With love for Flyboy too!”

On top of which, I scored this awesome piece of So Yesterday-themed art:


Thanks for all these little touches of sweetness to offset the rigors of touring.

Tomorrow is insane, between a school visit, a signing, and flying to Seattle, so there may well be no blogging. But don’t forget the last few dates of la tour:

Wednesday, Oct 10
1378 Lincoln Ave
San Jose, CA 95125
School event followed by in-store reading/signing

Thursday, Oct 11
Shorecrest Performing Arts Center
15343 25th Avenue NE
Shoreline, WA 98155
Books will be sold by Third Place Books
Public presentation and signing.

Friday, Oct 12
Edmonds Branch Library
650 Main St.
Edmonds, WA 98020
Books will be sold onsite by Barnes & Noble

Monday, Oct 15
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
161 Lexington Green Circle
Lexington, KY 40503

Ciao for now.

Quick Note: If you’re commenting about the book Extras, please be kind to your fellow readers and use the Extras Spoiler Page.

Madeleine L’Engle, RIP

The author of A Wrinkle in Time has left us. Her work is one of the things that made me a writer, a science fiction and fantasy fan, an avid reader. Hers were the first books I read that mixed math and magic, the quest and the quantum. To put it simply, without L’Engle’s tesseracts, Midnighters would have no tridecalogisms.

Here are a few more thoughts I put down for New York Magazine‘s Culture Blog.

And here Gwenda Bond quotes L’Engle at length on what authors know or don’t know about what their novels mean.

According to the NY Times obit, A Wrinkle in Time has sold six million copies since 1962, but lately moves only 15,000 copies per year. One copy a year for every 20,000 Americans? Somewhere, IT is having a good laugh, and getting ready.

How many of you guys have read her work? (Believe me, you should.)

Japanese Midnighters = Fawesome

Okay, it’s officially International Editions Week here at Casa Larbfeld.
Look what came through the transom today:

This is definitely the most literal cover out of all the Midnighters editions. It’s a scene right out of the book, with all kinds of elements you can’t point to right in the text.

There’s something really sweet about that, almost like a kid’s book cover.

For a truly huge file that reveals all nine kinds of fawsomeness in this cover, click here.

And like most Japanese editions, there’s a dramatis personae page at the beginning. I really like these interpretations of the five midnighters, although I’m sure you guys will find errors in detail.

Click here to read and translate the fine print, or to steal the line art for your own nefarious and illegal purposes. Like making shirts!

Wearable Extras

So I’ve been fooling around with making my own promotional shirts for a while, and sometimes people want to buy them from me. But it’s not like I’m going to manufacture things and then (shudder) mail them. I don’t do packages and stamps very well.

But with Extras coming out in just six weeks, I suppose it’s time to let the t-shirts flow. So I invite you all to the launch of . . .

Yes, it’s the online store for shirts and hoodies that reveal your Ugly (and Midnightery) side. Behold a few examples:

All these and more are available right now by clicking right here.

A few notes:

1) As with all online clothes shopping, check the size info carefully. I chose Spreadshirts.com because they’re very clear about the measurements of their stuff. Just click the product details for info.

2) I don’t get any money from this, but one dollar from each shirt goes to Katrina relief. If anything goes wrong with an order, please bug Spreadshirts and not your humble and clueless author.

3) If you think these shirts are lame, feel free to design your own at Spreadshirt or Cafe Press. Click here for a big tridecashirt file. And here for a big file with all the Midnighters symbols. Rock out and share with the rest of us.

4) Yes, they ship to Australia and many other countries, but it costs.

5) Discounts on bulk orders (25 of the same thing).

Hope you find these fine wearables amusing, and let me know if you have any Special requests. (nyuck, nyuck.)

Again, here’s the store.

New Midnighters Covers

Yes, I realize that Justine and I have been spending all our time over at Inside a Dog, but I have not utterly abandoned you!

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the first cover for the new trade paperbacks of Midnighters!

Pretty cool, huh? That’s Jessica of the red hair and green eyes, of course.

Remember, these are the same old book, just with new covers. And they aren’t available until early January 2008, so don’t go scouring for them. But I thought I’d give you guys your usual chance to sneak peak and comment.

Or you comment over at Inside a Dog.

MIDI-nighters on TV

A few notes on genre “reveals” and on the TV option of Midnighters, all starting with a long digression.

Digression begins.

Back when I was a young composer, I went to an early MIDI expo in NYC. Then (and now) MIDI* was the communication standard that allows electronic musical instruments to talk to each other, and back in those days of tangled patch cords and 8-bit sampling, that alone was a pretty cool thing.

But one of the exhibits was even cooler. It was a guy playing a trumpet, at the end of which was something that looked like a mute. This device was listening to the notes be played, analyzing their pitch, converting them to MIDI data, and then sending them to a synthesizer. All in realtime!

He also had a footswitch to change the change the sound of the synth. So it went something like this:

Stomp. He was a trumpeter making the sound of a piano.
Stomp. He was a trumpeter making the sound of a guitar.
Stomp. He was a trumpeter making the sound of an oboe.

This is still a fairly cool thing to watch. In 1980-something, it was wicked awesome.

Suddenly, though, he clicked his foot switch, and the synthesizer shifted to its next instrument sound . . .

Stomp. And he was a trumpeter making the sound of . . . a trumpet.

But a dorky, synthesized trumpet, instead of the real one he held in his hands.

I looked around at the rapt audience, seeing who else got the joke. Only a few did, but we exchanged wry stares. It was a moment of sublime post-modernity, irony, and outright geekiness.

But it was also a warning to the wise: If you twist something around too far, it’s just the same darn thing you started with. But suckier.

Flash forward almost two decades.

I’m watching Underworld, what looks to be a diverting film about vampires and werewolves at war.

Stomp. Latex-wearing undead.
Stomp. Matrix-like slow motion.
Stomp. The rain-slicked streets of Budapest!

What could possibly go worng?

Then suddenly, way too early in the film, an astounding revelation is made: In this war, the vampires use bullets full of silver nitrate-something-babble, which kill werewolves on contact. And now the werewolves have developed bullets with something-ultraviolet-babble, which kill vampires on contact.

Stomp. Superhuman monsters at war . . . and they shoot each other with guns.

You know, guns. The things that kill regular people.

Except the vamps and werewolves die even faster than regular humans. So that one extra reveal brings us right back to normal. But suckier.

Wait! These things can kill people? No one told me that.

Flash forward to yesterday!

I’m watching Tremors 2 on cable, and of course I’m not stupid. I know it won’t be as good as the original. But at least I’ll get some more of those fantabulous underground monsters!

And yet here we go again. After a long and mysterious metamorphoses that promises a great new evil being unleashed upon the world, the underground monsters change into . . .

Stomp. Monsters that can run around on top of the frickin’ ground!

Stomp my beating heart.

A war where people shoot at each other? Above-ground monsters? Trumpets that sound like trumpets? Doesn’t sound so magical.

I find this turn of events to be less than beneficial!

This brings us to the Midnighters TV show.

Last October, Scifi Wire brought us an interview with former Charmed producer Brad Kerns. He’s the man that the CW (formerly the WB and UPN) has hired to look into creating a Midnighters TV show.

He is quoted saying:

It’s a very intriguing world. It’s a very cinematically visual area. At this point I’m not yet convinced that we’ve figured out how to make it a series. We’d want to up the ages of the characters in the book from all teenagers in high school to probably in their middle to late 20s.

Stomp. Twenty-six year olds who . . . stay up till midnight!

Can you feel the magic? Because, you know, when you’re 26 and the blue time rolls around, you’re probably, um, in a bar. Or watching TV. You know, like, hanging out.

Now I’m the last person to say that visual media must stay exactly like its literary source. Or that twists on an old story can’t create something new and extraordinary. Or that we authors shouldn’t be made rich by TV. No, you won’t hear those arguments from me.

But come on. When you’re 20-something, midnight just ain’t magic. I’m hearing a trumpet that sounds a lot like a trumpet.

Which sort of blows.

Update! According to web rumors the CW plans to bring back Veronica Mars with a brave new format: a few years in the future, Veronica has become an FBI agent.

Stomp! That’s right, an FBI agent . . . who solves crimes!

Now that, my friends, is a twist.

*Musical Instrument Digital Interface, to its friends.

Die Midnighter!

Not “die” as in “expire,” of course. “Die” as in “the.”

That’s right, the Midnighters series is now in German! And the new website for the series is far cooler than anything in English.

Like check this out:

Because, you see, German midnighters have entirely different symbols! (It’s a teutonic thing; you wouldn’t understand.)

There are pages and pages of fun to be had, including many screensavers like the one above. But the funkiest thing is the Tridecalogism-Generator, which looks like this.

Okay, if anyone knows what “abschicken” means, do tell. Is that like a dude who’s afraid to take his shirt off in public?

Go here to check out the generator.

These are the German midnighter desktops, like the one above.

And here’s the mighty home page.

Thank you, Kosmos, for a very cool site.

This just in: Justine also got some cool downloads today, including a Magic or Madness screen saver that rocks out loud. Here’s her post linking to the screensaver.