Tag Archives: Vampire

Vampires, Witches, & the Undead Con

I spent Halloween weekend in New Orleans, LA at the Anne Rice Undead Conference and Vampire Lestat Ball. The trip began early on Wed. morning with an international flight that placed us getting in to New Orleans at 9pm that night. The trip really started the next morning when the rest of the group arrived. There were six of us going to the ball, and by the end of the first day we had adopted a seventh.

 

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Thursday morning we met up with friends who had decided to make the journey with us. After a delicious lunch of Po’ Boys at Acme’s, we caught up over drinks before retiring to get ready for the first official event of the Undead Conference: a Meet-and-Greet with international bestselling author, Anne Rice. Held at the lovely St. Alphonsus Church.

 

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The event was a gathering of fans, authors, and other artists who came together to share of their love of Gothic literature and to celebrate the release of Anne’s newest novel, Prince Lestat. Additionally, Anne’s son, Christopher Rice, had also released his newest novel titled The Vines. Guests were allowed, in groups of six at a time, to spend a few minutes taking photographs and visiting with Anne and Christopher.

 

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Additionally, attendees were free to walk around the beautiful building and visit with the other authors gathered in attendance. As a guest author, I was fortunate enough to be one of the first to meet with Ms. Rice, who was as gracious and kind as any author I have ever had the privilege of meeting.

Anne Rice meet greet

 

The next morning began with beignets and strawberry daiquiris at Café Beignet. I enjoyed spending the morning visiting with friends before heading back to the conference hotel. I shared a panel with five other equally amazing authors and artists.

 

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Greg Wilkey, #TeamGregWilkey author of the Mortimer Drake YA vampire novels. http://www.gregwilkey.com/

Becket, Amazon Bestselling author of the Blood Vivicanti vampire series and Key the Steampunk Vampire, both YA series. http://www.becket.me/home.html

Raven Quinn, singer and artist, who did the illustrations for Becket’s Key novels. http://www.ravenquinn.net/

Sarah M. Cradit, author of the House of Crimson and Clover series. http://www.sarahmcradit.com/

C.M. Michaels, author of the Sisters in Blood series. http://www.cmmichaels.com/

 

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We had a wonderful session, answering questions about our specific work and the creative process in general. It was followed by a great book signing where the featured authors were given a chance to visit with conference attendees, sign some books, and speak with each other as well. Overall it was an amazing event!

After that, everyone returned to the hotel to prepare for the main event, the Vampire Lestat Coronation Ball! Held at the beautiful Republic, the event consisted of two levels, the general section downstairs with a dance-floor and the stage featuring multiple live bands throughout the night. The second section was the upstairs VIP, where authors such as myself had been invited to attend.

 

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My guests, friends, fellow authors and I spent the night talking, laughing, and dancing the night away. We were also given an opportunity to again meet with Ms. Rice and several other VIPs.

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On Saturday went spent the day exploring New Orleans, doing a little shopping and enjoying the sights of the city. Then that night we went to the Witches Ball, another swirling event of delicious food, intoxicating music and drinks, and visiting with friends.

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The event was actually in a more open area than the vampire ball, allowing attendees to wander around a beautiful garden in addition to exploring the rooms of The Elms Mansion.

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After leaving the ball at around 1pm, we met the newly crowned Prince Lestat and his coven at Café du Monde for coffee and beignets.

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Sunday was our final day. We spent the first part attending the official book signing for Anne and Christopher Rice, both of whom graciously spent the better part of the afternoon meeting with fans, signing their new novels, and taking photographs.

 

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Kris Anne Rice Book signing

 

Then, after the signing, I attended a cocktail party with other authors, which officially marked the closing of the 2014 Undead Conference.  It was great to have a last chance to see so many of the wonderful people I had met and to say our last goodbyes before the majority of us would depart New Orleans.

Overall, I had a fantastic time on the trip. I enjoyed both seeing old friends and meeting new ones.  It was also a wonderful opportunity to visit with fellow authors and fans of the genre. This was my second time attending the ball and I can easily say that it will not be my last!

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Dracula Untold Premiere

For those who don’t know, in addition to being a writer, I am also a PhD student writing my dissertation on vampire fiction. Therefore, I had a truly amazing opportunity the evening of Sept. 30th, 2014 to have the privilege of attending the red carpet premiere of the upcoming film, Dracula Untold. It was my first time to ever attend a premiere and the event which was held in Dublin, Ireland had all proceeds going to charity. The event did not disappoint and I was thrilled to be in attendance!

Arriving only a few hours early, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself at the beginning on the line, close enough in fact to stand directly in front of the walkway which the stars of the film would later walk down.

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Though a bit chilly, it was interesting to watch the red carpet being uncovered and the slowly gathering crowd. The doors for the theatre opened around 6:30, an hour before the film was to begin, however I chose to remain outside for another half hour, give or take, to see if I could catch a glimpse of the cast. My efforts were rewarded as, a short time before the film was to begin, the star of the film, Luke Evans who plays the title role of Dracula, greeted the crowd as he walked down the red pathway.

 

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I was even more surprised when he paused to say hello and signed my poster, which will from this point forward remain under lock and key. 😉

I enjoyed the film as a fun twist between history, myth and the cinematic portrayal of the vampire. The battle scenes were grand, but not so over-the-top that they became campy, which was nice. They also seemed to embrace (which was confirmed during a Q & A with members of the cast) that they were attempting to put a more human face on Dracula, showing how Vlad might have been seen by some as a hero, as he accepted vampirism in order to save his people from the Turks.

I actually asked Luke Evans about his preparation for the role, which he said included a fair amount of research, and definitely seemed to show in not only the film, but in other questions which he answered during the Q & A as well. They were joined in the Q & A with the director of the film, who provided some fun insight as well.

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Overall, I enjoyed the film and had a great time at the premiere!

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Undead Conference & Vampire Lestat Reunion Ball

Last week I attended the Undead Conference in New Orleans, hosted by the phenomenal staff of the Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club.  It is an annual event which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, primarily by the commencement of the annual Vampire Lestat Reunion Ball.

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For a student of Gothic Literature, the event was nothing short of one of the most amazing and exhilarating experiences of my life.  Over the course of the four day conference, I sat through multiple panels featuring authors from the newly and independently published, such as the talented Greg Wilkey, to bestselling authors like Christopher Rice.  These authors entertained their audience through speaking about their various novels, answering audience questions, and participating in lively debates concerning everything from the nature of good and evil to the best ways to sell your novel to a television or film company.

There were several highlights throughout the weekend.  However, I would like to share my favourite, which is on a bit of a personal note.  Among those who attended the vampiric festivities was long time friend, ‘SR’ and my mother-in-law, ‘TB.’  It was their first experience with the Gothic World of the vampire events which I tend to frequent and it was great to have them along.  My favourite moment was at the actual ball, when a vampire walked up to ‘TB’ and asked: “Excuse me, have you seen a werewolf?”  The moment – priceless!  Later in the evening, we did indeed, find the werewolf!

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The real highlight was, of course, meeting Anne Rice herself.  I had the pleasure of speaking with her at two different events during the conference, first at a cocktail party held the first night of the conference and second, at a book signing in the Garden District.  She was signing her newest novel, The Wolves of Midwinter along with her son Christopher who was signing his own recently released novel, The Heavens Rise.

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I also met Becket at these events, Rice’s assistant who recently published his own novels in the vampire genre, The Blood Vivicanti.  Meeting Rice was a dream, not only a long-time reader of her novels, but also as an academic who completed my MA dissertation on her Vampire Chronicles.  She was kind, gracious, and meeting her was one of the greatest moments I have ever experienced.

The Ball itself was also a lot of fun.  We met a lot of fellow authors and fans alike, listened to some great music, and danced the night away on a floor which had been transformed into a Gothic paradise.

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As it was my first visit to the Crescent City, we also took a haunted tour of the French Quarter which was both informative and fun.  A favorite place was, of course, seeing the house where Anne Rice once lived and wrote numerous novels.

 

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As well as visiting a few of the famous cemeteries.

 

We explored many of the delights of Burbon and Royal Street and were even there for the annual Halloween parade.  We also made some great new friends along the way.  The ball and conference was a wonderful experience which I would highly recommend to anyone with a love for the Gothic, Vampiric, or simply the darker side of literature.

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