Monthly Archives: October 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, Lightning Rod

Samhain Publishing, 2012

Now Available.

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Always stand. Never fall.

Broken Mirrors, Book 2

If I could offer one piece of advice now, as I fall past the eighty-fourth floor of Victory Tower, with the sky above me the swirling eye of a crimson hurricane, the blade of a goddess stuck in my thigh, and a man I used to love preparing to end the world, it would be this: Magic is not the answer to your problems.

Sorcerers have always been feared in the City, their origins as unknown as the nature and extent of their power. When James Black, a young man fleeing an abusive lover, becomes a sorcerer, his old life is erased from existence, and his new life is indebted to powerful entities.

Escaping the man who abused him was supposed to be the end, but the very magic that freed him has put him on a collision course with the gods and the Sorcerer King himself.

And only one of them can survive.

Warning: This is a work of urban fantasy featuring a gay male protagonist, with a romantic subplot and focus on magic, dragons, tricksters, sorcerers, and survival of domestic abuse. Please adjust expectations accordingly.

Advance Review from World Fantasy Award* Winner, Rachel Pollack:

Vaughn R. Demont’s Lightning Rod is an amazing book–inventive in its magic, gritty in its urban setting, winning and funny in its very likable hero.  The book recalls the great television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer in all the best ways, a mixture of adventure, comedy, and deep emotion. And something more.  Like Buffy’s Joss Whedon, Demont has created that rarest of literary creatures, a perfect metaphor.  For Whedon it was high school as Hell, for Demont it’s the best evocation of the effects of abuse I’ve ever read.  I can’t reveal how the book does this without giving away some jaw-dropping spoilers, but it’s something that stays with you long after you’ve read it.

Rachel Pollack, author of The Tarot of Perfection, A Collection of Tales

*1997 for Godmother Night

Please whet your appetite with this, the first chapter of Lightning Rod:

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A Gay Man’s Defense of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

May the defendants please rise…

Already I can tell some hackles are raised, some are doing stretches so they won’t pull a muscle from so repeatedly rolling their eyes, but yes, this is a blog post, on the eve of my book release, about My Little Pony, one of the more polarizing elements of the internet over the last couple years. Let me be clear, this isn’t a conversion manifesto, I’m not asking anyone to watch episodes, this is more why I support the show. In case any bronies are reading this, I have seen both seasons 1 and 2, and have made one of my characters a Brony.

But let’s get right to the defense, shall we? I believe I’ll start with this:

Lauren Faust and the MLP team deserve a GLAAD award.

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The Music of Lightning Rod: Part 5

In the acknowledgements for Lightning Rod, I thank three bands in particular: Tool, Rise Against, and Muse. Muse was a latecomer in my rotation, and I mostly got into them listening to Pandora and occasionally hearing cuts off The Resistance, which I ended up buying and listened to a LOT while writing the final acts of the novel, even naming the final act for “Uprising” which was on repeat for a good chunk of it.

However, that’s not the track I’ll be playing today (though it’s easy enough to find the official video on Youtube if you want to hear it). Since we’re closing out the week, and I mentioned I tend to visualize cinematically when I’m writing a scene, there’s always that moment when you know that the book is done, and you imagine that “fade to credits” moment. Considering that the better known rendition of this song is mentioned earlier in the book, by modern movie logic it only makes sense to end with a more modern cover of it so…

If Lightning Rod were a movie, this is the song I’d want to end it with.

Fade to credits…

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The Music of Lightning Rod: Part 4

Switching pace here, but while I wouldn’t call myself knowledgeable enough of The Beastie Boys to call myself a true fan, I do like a lot of their music, and for some action scenes I would listen to their stuff to give me fuel because I always struggle with action scenes. Part of my process is to visualize the scenes cinematically, which often involves background music, and Lightning Rod was no exception. (Partially the reason I’m doing these entries, actually. 🙂 ) For a major scene later in the book, which I won’t spoil here, for every draft of Lightning Rod I imagined this song playing, partly for the bass line, but mostly for the rhythm of it.

If anything, it’ll give your day a good kick in the ass. 🙂

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The Music of Lightning Rod: Part 3

I’ll admit that I come up with a lot of my titles on the fly, usually with whatever’s in my sightline. (The term, I think is a “Maxwell Houser”.) A short confession: Coyote’s Creed? Yeah, a copy of Assassin’s Creed was on my desk. The name of the series, however, is tied into a scene in CC where Rourke mentions that the story he’ll tell will be that of “a world that was a broken mirror”, and when I picked up the new Rise Against album, I knew it was a lock. I’ve been a fan of Rise Against since Revolutions Per Minute, having first heard “Like the Angel” in a Tony Hawk game and wanting to hear more. Appeal to Reason is probably one of my favorite, but Endgame’s definitely top 3 for me.

Anyway, less than a week to the release of Lightning Rod, you can still pre0rder from Samhain at the sale price!

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The Music of Lightning Rod: Part 2

To say that I listen to Tool while I’m writing is an understatement. I consider Tool to be as influential on my writing and on the development of James Black as any author I’d count among my influences. Even when James was a Mage: The Ascension character, Tool was one of the bands that provided the soundtrack to his life, and also to my own story of abuse survival. Tool was a band I liked before the whole situation, and it was his (I won’t say his name) favorite band ever. Afterward, I started listening to Tool again despite the fact that it reminded me of him because I wanted to reclaim the band, the music, make it mine again. Lateralus was their most recent album at the time, and the reclamation started with the title track.

I still get a rush of empowerment every time I listen to it, and I wanted to share that with James Black.

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The Music of Lightning Rod: Part 1

A short post today, but as we close in on the release date of Lightning Rod, I figured I’d show some of the music that inspired me while I was writing it, and I knew I had to start with this. I know as a gay man, I’m supposed to prefer the original, but this version has always had a lot more personal significance for me.


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