Here’s To You Bonnie Bennett

Last night The Vampire Diaries came to an end after eight seasons. In saying farewell to the gang from Mystic Falls, it seemed only right to take this opportunity and give the spotlight to the series’ most valuable player.

You guessed it, Bonnie Bennett, played flawlessly by the beautiful and immensely talented Kat Graham.

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One-on-One with Shadowhunters’ Harry Shum Jr.

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of Glee alum Harry Shum Jr. here at the NOC. Ever since Mike Chang graduated from McKinley High, he has built quite the career — even though we might be sad that he wasn’t cast as Iron Fist. From starring in Netflix’s Crouching Tiger sequel to headlining YouTube Red’s Single by 30, Shum has gone on to become one of the busiest young Asian American actors in Hollywood. His highest profile role yet has been as Magnus Bane on Shadowhunters, the hit adaptation of The Mortal Instruments book series. The show’s second season winter finale airs tonight at 8pm on FreeForm.

Recently, I had the chance to chat with Harry and talk about what it’s like to represent so many communities — Asian American, LGBTQ, Warlock —  on genre television.

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Paladins: An Interview With Vaughn R. Demont

Recently I had the opportunity to meet and connect with author Vaughn R. Demont. A talented writer and an all-around very cool guy, I was more than stoked when he agreed to sit down for this interview where we cover everything from life as a gay geek, being an urban fantasy author and of course diversity in speculative media.

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Midnight Taxi Tango: An Endorsement

Before we get into the rest of my full endorsement of Midnight Taxi Tango, I feel the need to ask a question: What kind of Ouija board does author Daniel José Older have access to? Is he somehow hotline blingin’ with the underworld? The way he writes about the dead, the half-dead, the preternatural and the politics that govern them — it reads more like dictation than creation. There are some genuinely creepy scenes in MTT. Skin crawling, looking over your shoulder, peering into shadows to see who is there, creepy. Other scenes are damn frightening. Let me put it to you this way: weaponized ghosts of babies who are hungry and out to devour you. Borderline nightmare stuff. What really works about this novel, and the “Bone Street Rumba” series as a whole, is that none of the scares are cheap. Every scare is legitimate. Every scare is necessary to the tale. This is evidence of Older’s mastery of his narrative.

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And the Nominee Is…..

With October being LGBTQ History month — as well as Black Speculative Fiction Month, the following news seems almost provident.

My sophomore novel, West of Sunset, has been nominated for 2015 Gaylactic Spectrum Award in the best novel category. I’m immensely humbled by this honor. It’s wonderful to be reminded that if you’re willing to dream and put in the work, opportunities manifest as a result.

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In Conversation with Daniel José Older

First off, I want to apologize for the video quality. We did this at the time of  day that is heavy with Internet traffic, and we experienced some delays. I also didn’t label the speakers, but you know who he is.

This was some of the most fun I have ever had interviewing someone.

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Half-Resurrection Blues: An Endorsement

A spoiler free endorsement.

Daniel José Older is the type of writer that forces you to reevaluate your likes and dislikes for particular (sub)-genres. Up until I read Half-Resurrection Blues, I declared a moratorium on anything even resembling urban fantasy. Most urban fantasy almost supernaturally privileges European myth/folk/legend and leaves zero room for stories or influences from other cultures. Fairy court intrigues, battles amongst the Sidhe, and some kind of blonde or “flowing raven haired” chosen one or outcast or bi-species offspring rule the urban fantasy space to such a degree that reading these books feels like looking at a “No Melanin Allowed” billboard written in fairy dust. With Half-Resurrection Blues, though, Older makes a very bold departure.

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Pub Deal Announcement: Shadowshaper

Originally posted at Ghoststar.net

In January 2009, I decided to write a book. I’ve always written, always made up strange worlds and sent characters hurdling into them, always dreamt of monsters. But until that day, I was scattered: a screenplay here, a few essays there. Some poems. None of ‘em went very far.

I’d read all the Harry Potters and loved them, loved how they immersed me in the world so thoroughly and stayed grounded and exciting. And I wanted something more… I’d just finished Junot’s Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Walter Mosley’s Six Easy Pieces and the combined ferocity of those two singular and relentlessly truthful voices lit a fire inside me. Octavia Butler’s work stoked that fire and Stephen King’s On Writing reminded me that writing a book was something that can be done, long as you sit down and do it.

So I did.

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