"Clay and Susan Griffith's Vampire Empire is Transforming Genre Fiction" Paul Goat Allen, BN Explorations.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Goodreads Giveaway

You can win a book! And then another book!

We are giving away an autographed copy of The Rift Walker and The Greyfriar on Goodreads. Go to the link and find out how to enter and win.

The giveaway runs through January 2, 2012.

Go here to find out how to win Vampire Empire on Goodreads!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

On the Nile with The Rift Walker

The Heart of Adele's Home

Much of The Rift Walker takes place in Egypt, specifically along the Nile River. So we decided to share some historical shots of the area that will give you a flavor of the region. Remember, however, that Equatorian Egypt is more developed industrially in many places, particularly around Cairo, than these paintings and photos from the 19th century will show. But you'll get a sense of what Adele and Greyfriar saw on their long, hot journey up the Nile.

Plus, we just love historical travel shots.

View of Giza across the Nile

More modern Cairo riverfront

Cairo city scene

Landing at Abu Simbel
by David Roberts

Entry to Abu Simbel
by David Roberts

If you've read The Rift Walker, we hope you can imagine Adele and Greyfriar in some of those scenes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Here's What We Did in NYC

Vampire Empire State of Mind

We recently visited New York for a few readings/signings of The Greyfriar and The Rift Walker. We had events at a bar in Brooklyn, a restaurant in Times Square, a gallery in SoHo, and a radio station on Wall Street. We were all over the city. It was a busy couple of days, but very exciting. Hopefully we got the word out about Vampire Empire to some people who didn't know about it before.

We love New York. Even without special events, it's fun just to walk around the city. 
Times Square
Enjoying a good book in Madison Square Park
We made several stops at bookstores around NYC to sign stock and then a few stops in NYC landmarks such as The Algonquin Hotel and Keen's Steakhouse.
Barnes&Noble 5th Avenue
Drinks at the Algonquin with Sean Lough
Then it was out to The Way Station in Brooklyn. We haven't spent much time in Brooklyn, and this was a fun neighborhood bar with a steampunk/Dr. Who theme. The crowd was small but enthusiastic. One couple came all the the way from New Jersey (no small feat) in complete steampunk regalia.

So cool!
Reading at The Way Station
 After The Way Station, we jumped the Q train for Times Square where the Science Fiction Writers of America were holding their annual gala at Planet Hollywood. There we ran into Jim Freund, co-ordinator of the NY Review of Science Fiction and host of Hour of the Wolf (WBAI, 99.5 FM). We met some new people, as well as running into some old friends.

Tuesday included more walking around NYC until the our scheduled reading at the SoHo Gallery for Digital Arts, sponsored by the New York Review of Science Fiction. This was a terrific event, organized by Jim Freund, and the guest host was the wonderful Margot Adler. You may know Margot as a long-standing commentator on NPR or as the author of the classic book on modern paganism, Drawing Down the Moon. She was one of the earliest supporters of The Greyfriar, so it was a thrill to finally meet her. She spoke about reading over 180 vampire novels, and put her finger on the exact nature of why vampires continue to resonate in our modern world. Her theme was that vampires of any era reflect the fears of that age. In our time, vampires speak to our struggle to act morally in the world while still being predators. We read a little from The Greyfriar and The Rift Walker. And then Margot interviewed us and fielded questions from the audience. It was great!

Us with Margot Adler
Susan chatting with Chris Claremont!
Margot speaking
Probably arguing
Jim Freund
Then finally, Wednesday night (or Thursday morning), we were guests on Jim Freund's Hour of the Wolf radio show. We could have taped an interview, but we wanted to do it live. And originally, it was supposed to be 1:30 - 3:00 am. But it ended up being 12 midnight - 3:00 am. Three hours of live radio! Turns out it was very easy. Jim was an amazing pro and it was over before we knew it. You can listen to part of the show here.

Clay ready for broadcast magic!

Then it was over and off to the airport.

It was a wonderful trip. And we must say thank you to our friends, June and Sean Lough, who got us where we need to be on time and made the entire trip so much fun.

Sean & June

Sunday, September 18, 2011

New York to be annexed into Vampire Empire

Kick Off Your Halloween Season in NYC with THE RIFT WALKER.

Oct. 3, 8:00 pm:  Reading at The Way Station. 683 Washington Ave., Brooklyn. This is a bar with a steampunk/Dr. Who vibe in a bustling Brooklyn neighborhood north of Prospect Park. We will be reading from The Greyfriar and The Rift Walker.

Oct. 3, 8:00 - 11:00 pm:  SFWA Reception, Planet Hollywood at Times Square. We hope to attend this free event (admission is limited) if we can make it after The Way Station reading.

Oct. 4, 7:00 pm:  New York Review of Science Fiction Readings Series, SoHo Gallery for Digital Art, 138 Sullivan Street. Guest Host: Margot Adler (NPR commentator, author of Drawing Down the Moon).

Oct. 6, 1:30 - 3:00 am:  The Hour of the Wolf, (WBAI 99.5FM), host Jim Freund. Live radio interview and call-in show.

We are very excited for a couple of busy days in New York promoting VAMPIRE EMPIRE and meeting readers and writers.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

DragonCon 2011, part 1

The Happiest Place on Earth...if you like weird stuff...

DragonCon is a convention dedicated to popular culture held in Atlanta, GA every year over Labor Day weekend. While steamy Atlanta in early September isn't always that pleasant as a destination, no other convention can beat DragonCon's content. Not ComicCon. Not WorldCon. Not nobody. If you like science fiction/fantasy books, movies, television, and games, you owe yourself at least one trip to DragonCon. We've been many times before, and this year was the best time we ever had.

We arrived early this year because last year's registration process was an absolute nightmare. This year was a dream by comparison. We were excited by Susan's fortune cookie on our first night in town.
Your hard work is about to pay off.

We stayed in the Westin, which hosted the Alt. History track, but wasn't in the Hyatt/Marriott/Hilton interconnected hive of activity. It was nice to be out of the beaten path, but also bummed to be cut off from the heart of the con.

Susan on Plotting panel
We participated in a number of panels on several tracks -- Writing, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Alternate History, Young Adult. They were all great, and we loved meeting our fellow panelists as well as fans afterward.

There were two central themes to this DragonCon for us. One was hanging out at the Pyr Books booth, participating in autographings, meeting fans, selling books (both ours and others), and working with the Pyr editorial/marketing folks: Lou Anders. Rene Sears. Jill Maxick. Lynn Pasquale. Gabrielle Harbowy, and other Pyr authors: Jon Sprunk. Andrew Mayer. Ari Marmell. Erin Hoffman. Sam Sykes. James Enge (we didn't get a photo of James!). We've said it several times, but being a part of Pyr is like being a part of a family. We truly love all those guys, and respect their work.  Creatively, it's like being in the legendary Marvel Comics bullpen in the 1960s. All these fiercely creative and smart people working hard to build their own titles, as well as the Pyr brand. It's really amazing, and amazingly fun.

Jill Maxick, Lou Anders, Lynn Pasquale
Pyr braintrust
Lou Anders, Rene Sears
Mirror Mirror takeover?

Ari Marmell, Andrew Mayer
Erin Hoffman, Jon Sprunk

Sam Sykes, Lou Anders (stylin')

The other significant theme was our event with James Marsters. Regular readers of our blog will know that James Marsters (best known as Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) will be voicing the audio version of The Greyfriar, and the entire Vampire Empire trilogy. On Sunday night, we appeared with James at a ticketed event where he read the first chapter of The Greyfriar. Then we all participated in a Q & A. The questions were excellent, focused on the writing process and the world of Vampire Empire. James was a genuinely nice man, and also completely invested in the project. He was totally conversant on characters and plot. Sitting there hearing him read those words we have lived with for so long was a surreal experience. He was fantastic.
Clay (too serious), James Marsters (so good), Susan (in coma of joy)

Oh, okay, there was a third theme. Enjoying the party. Our editor, Lou Anders, loves to hang out and drink beer and talk books. He also loves to surround himself with his writers, and other writers. He likes writers, and that's a great thing for an editor. We spent every night dining and drinking and watching the incredible show that is DragonCon After Dark. The cavernous lobby of the Marriott Marquis is like another world.

We'll write and show more of that world in another post soon.

When it's over, you're exhausted and ready for a little reality. But after a day or two, you start thinking about DragonCon next year.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dance of the Dragoncons

We are in Atlanta and gearing up for Dragoncon! Today was registration and we were fearing the worst after last year's four hour debacle on line. But after only waiting in line for an hour, we zipped right through. Well, Clay did. I got stopped and sent over to "Solutions" where there was another long line for people lost in the system. But even that moved quickly, and soon we were through to go roost at Starbucks. All in all, a VAST improvement. Here's a shot at how fast the lines were moving compared to the standstill traffic of last year.

Also, Susan's fortune cookie at dinner last night cheered us immensely (Clay ate part of his fortune, so that negates his). "Your hard work is about to pay off. Congratulations." You can't get a better omen than this. We hope to meet a lot of our fans this weekend. We wouldn't be here if it weren't for all of you. Thank you!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Book Review: Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk

There are a slew of rogue books out there. You know, the kind where the main character is an assassin archetype. Maybe it’s part of my Warcraft upbringing, but I love rogues. They have that immediate sense of mystery and danger, the bad boys of the hero archetypes. I can’t help myself, I’m drawn to them and stories about them. Some are good. Some are not. It is a delicate balance to have a character that kills for a living, but also make him sympathetic and likeable. Jon Sprunk’s debut novel, Shadow’s Son, delivers such a hero.
            Caim is a man adrift in the adopted city of Othir. He is an assassin whose greatest asset is his control of the shadows he inhabits, giving him the ability to literally slip into darkness to avoid detection. Working for hire, mainly against those with low morals or on the edge of being malevolent, Caim remains just shy of doing something reprehensible. He lives among the poor because mercenary work is not glamorous or rich unless you work for the government. And Othir’s government is corrupt, as Caim discovers when he is hired to eliminate a wealthy, prominent citizen. Only the job turns out to be a set up engineered by a rival with lofty ambitions. Forced to run, Caim takes Josephine, the daughter of his target, in order to save her. Soon our hero is drawn into the political upheaval of the city and forced to step out of the shadows and take a stand.
            From there, things go from bad to worse as Caim struggles to clear his name, keep Josephine alive, and find out why the shadows he controls are tainted with an evil that frightens even him. We don’t learn much about this evil in this first book, but it’s obvious it will play a major part later in the series.
            One thing that sets Shadow’s Son apart is the presence of Caim’s lifelong companion – an ethereal being called Kit whom only he can see. I love the interactions between these two. She is a sprightly character who is a spitfire and clearly a woman of her own mind. Kit’s ghostly reconnaissance, combined with Caim’s shadow control, makes him formidable. Unfortunately, Caim occasionally takes her friendship for granted.
            With Kit being intangible, it isn’t long before Caim starts falling for Josephine. I will admit I was unsure about Josephine at the start. She was spoiled and screamed a lot, but by the end of the tale, her transformation was definitive and sad. The reader feels her pain. She loses her family, her wealth, and her entire way of life. She is dragged to the pit of hell and then stands up in the face of it. Josephine has great potential. Hopefully she’ll never return to being the damsel in distress as she was throughout most of this book, and will become a powerful ally for Caim as he unravels his past.
            But it is definitely the mysterious relationship between Kit and Caim that draws my attention. Kit seems to know secrets about Caim, which frustrates him greatly because she remains elusive on those matters. There are times when she vanishes, much to Caim’s annoyance, but she always returns just at the right moment (sometimes a bit too conveniently!). Kit is a wonderful character. I’m as desperate to learn more about her as I am about Caim’s past and powers.
            I found myself drawn in by the characters and the well-choreographed fight scenes. The world of Othir was politically rich and full of intrigue as it underwent a rebirth through the course of the novel. However, our characters are destined for another place, and perhaps another realm, which I am just as eager to discover. Bring on the Shadows!
            Shadow’s Son is a high-energy fantasy story, brimming with clandestine action, sinister shades, and a hint of romance. But it also welcomes back the heart and soul of character to the dark, murky world of assassins.
            The second book in the series, Shadow’s Lure, is out now in stores and I will soon have a signed copy in my hand thanks to Dragon*Con. I look forward to reading it and seeing where Jon Sprunk takes these intriguing characters.
            The artwork is by the incredibly detailed artist, Michael Komarck, and below you can find the fabulous book trailer for the newest novel. 

Follow Jon on his blog, and on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Autographed Vampire Empire!

Want The Greyfriar or The Rift Walker signed by us, but can't get to one of our appearances?

Buy THE GREYFRIAR or THE RIFT WALKER through Quail Ridge Books and Music (in beautiful Raleigh, NC) and you can get them autographed and even personalized, at NO EXTRA CHARGE. Quail Ridge Books offers gift wrapping and shipping.

This is NOT a limited offer. You can do it now. You can do it for Halloween. You can do it for Christmas. You can do it for Arbor Day next year.

1. You order.
2. We autograph.
3. They ship.
4. It's easy.

Call QRB toll-free at 1-800-672-6789.
Or use the links on the right hand column...

We love anybody who sells books, but We Support Independent Bookstores!

We will be appearing at Quail Ridge Books on September 15th.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Voice of Greyfriar

James Marsters to narrate the audio version of The Greyfriar: Vampire Empire

Buzzy Multimedia announced that the narrator of The Greyfriar audio book, and the Vampire Empire series, will be the great James Marsters, best known for playing Spike in the wildly popular tv series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel!

Here's the press release.

Needless to say, we are VERY excited. Marsters is a skilled stage and screen actor, and a wonderful voice talent. He has done a fantastic job narrating Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series, and we can't wait to see what he does with The Greyfriar and the next two books in the series too. We are gratified that he would choose our books to reunite himself with vampire fiction.

Hmm. Throw a cowl on this guy, and he is The Greyfriar. But don't worry, this doesn't mean Greyfriar will start playing poker for kittens.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Relationships and words

Being a couple is tricky.

The question we get asked most is "How does a couple write together?"

You could easily ask "How do two individuals do ANYthing as a couple?" It's not an easy question. And it's not an easy thing to do. But we do it anyway.

We recently wrote a blog for the Romance Writers of America chapter in Birmingham, AL that talks about writing together, being a couple, and creating characters who are couples.

Here's the link if you want to read it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Library Journal sez: The Greyfriar is good steampunk

The Greyfriar and Mark Hodder's Spring Heeled Jack get buzz.

It's always wonderful to get good reviews. And it's really heartening to have a respected source like Library Journal include us in their list of steampunk books for librarians to use in creating a collection for this booming subgenre.

Griffith, Clay & Susan. The Greyfriar. Pyr. (Vampire Empire, Bk. 1). 2010. ISBN 9781616142476. 301p. pap. $16. FANTASY
It was only a matter of time before a steampunk vampire novel was published. Thankfully, the first one is well written and entertaining. The story starts in 1870, when vampires conquer the north and send human elites to the south; it picks up again in 2020, when Princess Adele of the Equatorian Empire becomes lost in vampire territory. Alone with the mysterious Greyfriar, Adele becomes the driving factor behind a final war between humans and vampires. It is a testament to the writing skill of the Griffiths that they were able to take something so overdone as vampires and make it feel fresh. Fans of Cherie Priest will gobble up this book and its forthcoming sequels.

And this for our Pyr Books friend:

Hodder, Mark. The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne in). Pyr. 2010. ISBN 9781616142407. 373p. pap. $16. SF
This is big, meaty steampunk, set in the mid- to late 1800s, featuring historical figures (e.g., Richard Burton, Charles Darwin, and Florence Nightingale) in new roles, lots of steam-driven science (including my favorite: velocipedes), and crazy mutated creatures. Hodder's fast-paced and lively writing will keep readers of all levels engaged. There is coarse language, but this would work well in a YA collection, too. That Hodder brings the story full circle at the end is an impressive feat. Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award for distinguished original science fiction paperback; a sequel, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, has also been published.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Comic-Con International!

We are appearing on a panel.

Vampires and Others
Saturday, 5/23/11
1:45 - 2:45
Room 6A

Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)
Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson)
Nancy Holder (Crusade)
Linda Thomas-Sundstrom (The Golden Vampire)
S.G. Browne (Fated)
Clay and Susan Griffith (Vampire Empire)

Autographing to follow.

We are stoked! I just hope we remember we're there to speak, not just get autographs from our fellow panelists...

Friday, June 10, 2011

The blurb!

Marjorie M. Liu, NY Times bestselling author of the Dirk and Steele series and the Hunter Kiss series.

Marjorie was one of the earliest supporters of The Greyfriar, and now she has provided a blurb for The Rift Walker. And we couldn't be happier. Not just because the blurb is great, but because Marjorie really gets the heart of the book, and the series. While The Rift Walker has a bit more humor than The Greyfriar, it is still a similarly intense adventure set against a desperate clash of nations, species, and moralities. But, first and foremost, it is exciting, exhilarating, romantic adventure.

We can't encourage you strongly enough to read Marjorie's books,  if you haven't already. She is the master of paranormal adventure and romance.

Another cool thing about Marjorie is that she writes comics (which we do too), including the dark, sexy X-23 and Daken: Dark Wolverine for Marvel Comics.

Check out Marjorie's website and her wonderful, enticing work.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It Came From Beneath the Sea...Again

It rises!

We started writing this book in summer 2007. Now, it's coming out. That's how the comic business works sometimes.

Congratulations to Chris Noeth, Todd Tennant, and letterer extraordinaire, Nikki Foxrobot, who did a lot to save the project.

The graphic novel got a terrific review on Ain't It Cool News. Being constant readers of AICN, we were surprised and delighted to see the book reviewed there.

Here's a couple of quotes:

"Clay and Susan do a great job of capturing the tone of those old films where science was wonky and quips were lobbed back and forth like hand grenades."

"Everything about this story screams old school and if you're a fan of the way movies used to be, then you have to pick up this homage to the classics."

"Though films such as IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA are often made these days, it's apparent with the creators behind this comic book sequel that there is love and respect for the original that can't be duplicated in today's Hollywood."

Those words mean a lot. We are old movie buffs. Clay particularly is a Ray Harryhausen fanatic. This project was very important to us, and we are extremely proud of the script. We are thrilled it is finally coming out in June, and that it's being appreciated for what it is -- a loving homage to Ray Harryhausen's creativity and imagination, but with our own peculiar twist.

Hope everyone reads it and enjoys it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

BookExpo America 2011 meets The Rift Walker

    BookExpo America was an eye opening experience for us. It was our first  BEA and we had always assumed it was for the bookselling industry. Far from it. The advent of blogging and the web has opened the door for so many others to become a part of the event, making if feel very down to earth.
   We hadn’t expected such crowds and enthusiasm at the autograph session either. Our lane was filled and we signed the entire hour! What we loved the most was personally meeting the bloggers who helped spread the word about “The Greyfriar”. Thank you all for the wonderful reviews and your tireless efforts.
   Without a doubt the Prometheus booth had a colorful and dynamic artwork display. The Rift Walker and the slew of other upcoming Pyr covers caught the attention of everyone who walked past the booth. Not to mention they had a very comfy couch! We even signed the remaining books as we lounged. All we needed was a beer in hand and we would have felt right at home.

   It was a great event and we will definitely be adding BEA to our list of conventions for next year.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Steampunk World's Fair 2011

    Despite the prevailing grey skies in New Jersey we had our one sunny day so far at the Steampunk World’s Fair. The venue was packed! We were amazed at the large number of attendees. At this rate they will need a bigger hotel next year.
    The costumes were fabulous and inventive as well. What thrilled us was the number of variations of steampunk present. Everything from Russian Steampunk to Rajahs to WW2. It’s exciting to see the genre branch out beyond their British Victorian roots. You know how we love to mix things up! Aside from bringing great costume diversity we think it will allow the genre to endure for a long time to come. There were a wide range of folks of all ages, young and old, and that too is the mark of longevity.
    We participated in two panels. The first one was Mixing Genres in Steampunk Literature with CJ Henderson, and the second was Writing Alternate History. Despite a room malfunction and having to hold the panel in the lobby, we made the best of a bad situation. The participants were eager and raised excellent questions. Hopefully we left them with some direction for their own stories.
    Thanks to all who came up and expressed their love of The Greyfriar! It meant a great deal to us.
   Now it’s off to Book Expo America on Tuesday. We’ll be signing autographs at Table 25 at 10:30 am on May 24. We’ll probably also be hanging out at the Pyr booth before and after too (Table #4566). Hope to see you there!