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Sunday, June 5, 2011

BHSV–Seanan McGuire Guest Blogs + SIGNED Book Giveaway!

40 Lovely Comments!
 

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Summer Rain in California: Making the Familiar Frightening.
California summers are supposed to be magical confections of sunlight and flowers and flirty floral-print dresses and men with surfboards whooping their prayers to the Gods of the Sun.
This is not that summer.
As I write this, my part of California is in the middle of an unseasonable storm system.  Rain pours down outside my window, and has been pouring down for the better part of a week.  Gardens are drowning.  Flowerbeds are being washed away.  And all the poor tourists who bought their tickets to a summer of fun in the sun are standing under awnings and in doorways, staring in shell-shocked horror at the water that is falling from the sky. It doesn't matter if they come from places where the inclement weather is a hell of a lot worse than it is here; this is California rain, and California rain in June reads, to many, as a sign of the apocalypse.  What would be familiar at home is terrifying here, because it's not supposed to happen here.
Urban fantasy is the genre of California rain.  It's the genre of taking familiar things, things that would be about as frightening as my Maine Coon kitten (who is, admittedly, terrifying when he runs the Kitty 500 around the house at 3:00 AM), and somehow making them scary, or strange, or unbelievable.  Urban fantasy is the genre of perfectly dressed porcelain dolls sitting in the middle of evergreen forests, of haunted houses in the middle of suburban developments, of a single leather-bound book on a small child's candy-colored bookshelves.  It's all about the out-of-place making the normal abnormal; it's all about defining a whole new normal. This normal has teeth.
Summers like this make me realize just how easy it is to take reality and tilt it a little bit out of true.  Every time I look out the window, I'm uneasy.  This is California; this is June.  Everything I am tells me this rain is impossible.  And because of that, I'm primed to fall into a modern-day fairy tale.  If I saw fairies in my hedge, it would still get a "No way..." response, but maybe not as strong of one as it would have gotten before the rain started coming down.  I've already accepted one impossible thing.  What's one more between friends?
Horror works the same angles a lot of the time; it just takes it further. In horror, the doll in the forest has teeth.  Maybe she has teeth in urban fantasy, too, but she's probably not venomous, or if she is, you probably won't melt.  It's all about the frightening in the familiar.  It's all about that strange and impossible, outside-your-window, scaring the tourists, California summer rain.
Be sure to carry an umbrella if you're planning on going outside.
-- Seanan McGuire
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    40 Responses so far.

    1. Hi Larissa & Seanan :)

      Thank you for the wonderfully written, interesting post. Such spooky examples! This post could be an article in Writers' Digest.

      All the best,
      RKCharron

      PS - DO NOT ENTER ME IN CONTEST

    2. Robin says:

      It is a very interesting post!

      robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

    3. Never thought June rain like that but I agree this weather has been on spooky side as of late.

    4. Vivien says:

      I really enjoy Seanan McGuire's work. The Feed series is one of my favorites.

    5. Denise Z says:

      I cannot express how much I enjoy receiving your posts. Thank you for sharing today - love hearing about new (to me) authors and their books - not to mention getting a chance to win the wonderful giveaways. You are appreciated.

    6. Amy says:

      I love reading urban fantasy. Seanan is a new author for me and I would love to read the books!

    7. Jenn says:

      That post was great, I really enjoyed reading it.

    8. I read almost nothing but urban fantasy, and I love Toby! And I agree, a spazzy kitty can be a frightening thing.

    9. Oh, your post makes me miss California. I'm in Florida now, and it's supposed to rain here just about every day in the summer. So far it's been pretty dry here, and we keep hoping for rain because it helps cool us off.

    10. Julie S says:

      This book sounds really interesting.

    11. Meredith says:

      California is a place all it's own in its own special way. Thanks for the giveaway!

    12. Great post, really enjoyed it..

    13. donnas says:

      Great post. And seriously weather this year is just insane.

    14. Well I don't think I have ever considered horror that way. Cool post.

    15. Anne says:

      Don't feel bad, Seanan. We've had one of our rainiest Springs ever too.

      Love the series!

    16. Come to Texas...the saying goes if you don't like the weather wait and hour and it will change!

    17. Julie says:

      I love how you describe urban fantasy: Take the normal and somehow twist it into something new and totally unpredictable! Too cool :)
      jwitt33 at live dot com

    18. Ash says:

      Loved your comparison of california rains to urban fantasy. As a Californian I can totally relate to that analogy.

    19. Tore says:

      Thanks for the giveaway. This book sounds very interesting. I can't wait to read it. Tore923@aol.com

    20. Cathy M says:

      What a great post. Thanks for the chance to check out a new author.

      caity_mack at yahoo dot com

    21. wade2121 says:

      Friend recommended author & loved 1st book. Would love to win this.

    22. Oh I have just really have seen these books and now I want to read them all!! Sweet!

    23. Beverly says:

      Great post! Thanks for hosting a giveaway!

    24. great post! I have to admit, I am always scared of what could possibly be outside my window.

    25. The weather has been crazy this year. I just hope we don't have any hurricanes.

    26. wow great post! i just entered the giveaway, and i love your blog!
      starlighgtgirl678 at aol dot com

    27. I am right there with Seanan, I am just a few hours north of her & since Tuesday it's been sunny, but before that it was dread. Rain & lighting...but now summer seems to be on it's way!

    28. Amazing giveaway who wouldn't want to enter? :D

    29. Jesse says:

      I love your style of writing.

    30. JenM says:

      I'm from NorCal also and I have to agree, rain in June is almost like a sign of the apocalypse. The only thing good about it is that hopefully it will delay our fire season.

    31. What a great post thank you for sharing! Thanks for the great giveaway would love to read this book!

    32. awesome giveaway! thank you. i love your post!

    33. Heather says:

      excellent example for urban fantasy. I know I never think about California and rain together. :)


      heatwave16

    34. Carradee says:

      Between the conversation I had last night about the recurring nightmares I grew up with—where the other lady was grossed out by the tamest one—and your blog post right now, I understand my fondness for urban fantasy a bit better, now. ^_^

    35. Please send some of that rain this way to Arizona!! We are in dire need of it. I'm not really a fan of summers mainly just because of the Hot Hot weather. But giveaways and books such as these make it a bit cooler! Thank you :)

      PelicanJL@hotmail.com

    36. Carmen R says:

      This is the first I have see this author/ book and I'll be adding it to my wishlist. I'm always looking for new books to try.

      The Kitty 500 comment cracked me up.

    37. I love the explanation of urban fantasy - and really what is it about kitties loving to run marathons in the middle of the night?

    38. Denise Z says:

      I was a California girl growing up and this post was right up my alley. Thank you for sharing and for the tingles of anticipation for reading this book.

    39. Chacha says:

      This is a great giveaway. Seanan is a new author and would love to read this new series. Thank you

    40. Aliraluna says:

      I'm always looking for new books and this one looks interesting ^^

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