Thursday, August 27, 2015

YA Pioneers: Kate Daniel

YA may have blown up over the past decade, but it used to be a small section of bookstores.  In the early nineties, it consisted mostly of "teen thrillers," which mostly featured dark mysteries and serial killers, although there was some supernatural fare as well.  The authors of those days were ahead of their time and built an audience in teenagers, and paved the way for the YA that is beloved by so many today.

Something I always really enjoyed about browsing for new teen thrillers was the covers.  Like with old video stores, it's fun to pick up a new title that you haven't seen before, drink in the illustrated image (as almost all teen thrillers were illustrations back in the 90's) and read the little teaser line.  It was usually something kind of cheesy like "Now I lay me down to die" (Kate Daniel's Sweet Dreams), but every once in awhile a line would send a shiver down my back and I would think to myself that the book was going to be awesome.  I still really like Christopher Pike's Spellbound teaser - "You can close your eyes - It won't help."

YA Pioneers
Kate Daniel is a prime example of why I am doing this series of "YA Pioneers" posts.  I absolutely loved Kate Daniel's books growing up, and as YA was a big part of my life growing up, Kate Daniel was also a big part of it.  It makes me sad that she's kind of a lost author.  In researching her, I've come up with almost no information on Kate Daniel or her career, almost like this author that I cherished never really existed.  But she did, and her books are still out there in used bookstores and in e-book form, where new readers can re-discover her even today.  She was a pioneer of the YA industry and she deserves recognition for her contributions with the great books she released that many people loved.

Kate Daniel's first book was Baby-Sitter's Nightmare, published on April 28, 1992 by Harper Collins, the publisher she would continue to publish all of her teen books through.  The book would go on to become a bestseller, an honor proclaimed on the covers of her forthcoming books, and would spawn a sequel years later. The book follows Alice Fleming, who has been baby-sitting in houses that have been burglarized, resulting in her status as the number one suspect.

Daniel followed her bestseller later that same year with Sweet Dreams, about a girl plagued by dreams of her parents' deaths, and Teen Idol, where a string of strange accidents occur on a film set.  She also contributed the first of several short stories that would appear by her in anthologies from DAW Books.  Her story "GENIE, Inc." appeared in Aladdin: Master of the Lamp.

Running Scared came out in August of 1993, and would also become a bestseller.  This was probably the very first book that I ever called my favorite book.  I would be searching for a thriller as good as this one for years to come.  The story follows a girl who was placed in the witness protection program, and is discovered by her pursuers.  Running Scared is the definition of a page-turner, with non-stop action, and solidified Kate Daniel as one of the great thriller authors in my mind.

Sweetheart would follow up Running Scared in 1993, and then Kate Daniel would release the sequel to her first bestseller, in 1994.  Baby-Sitter's Nightmare Part II would, of course, feature more baby-sitters being terrorized.  It wasn't a direct sequel to Baby-Sitter's Nightmare, but featured new characters, with an unconnected story.  I actually read the sequel before the original, and I have to say that I prefer Baby-Sitter's Nightmare Part II, which I think is second only to Running Scared.

Kate Daniel's career in YA would come to a screeching halt in 1994 after the publication of End Game.  Her YA career was short, lasting over the course of only three years, but she was very productive in that time, and left quite a mark.  She would go on to contribute short fiction to several more anthologies from DAW Books:  "Christmas Presence" would appear in Christmas Ghosts in 1993, and "Witch Doctor," in Witch Fantastic in 1995.  She would also have stories published in the anthologies Alien Pregnant by Elvis (1994), By Any Other Frame (1994), Enchanted Forests (1995), Highwaymen: Robbers and Rogues (1997), and Chicks 'n Chained Males (the third anthology in the Chicks in Chainmail series) (1999).  Her stories would be featured alongside such science fiction/fantasy greats as Mercedes Lackey, Harry Turtledove and Elizabeth Moon.  Kate Daniel would also co-write Polar City Nightmares with Katharine Kerr in 2000.
Kate Daniel YA titles
Baby-Sitter's Nightmare (1992)
Sweet Dreams (1992)
Teen Idol (1992)
Running Scared (1993)
Sweetheart (1993)
Baby-Sitter's Nightmare Part II (1994)
End Game. (1994)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Previews Highlights: October 2015

I've scoured Previews Catalogue for the best of what the upcoming month has in store for comic shops.  Here's what's happening in October...

Comic Books

Angela: Queen of Hel #1
Marguerite Bennett, Kim Jacinto & Stephanie Hans

Art Ops #1
Shaun Simon & Michael Allred

Batman and Robin Eternal #1
James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder & Tony S. Daniel

Black Magick #1
Greg Rucka & Nicola Scott

Blade #1 Seeley Variant Cover

Blade #1
Tim Seely & Logan Faerber

Doctor Strange #1
Jason Aaron & Chris Bachalo

Extraordinary X-Men #1
Jeff Lemire & Humberto Ramos

Grumpy Cat #1
Ben McCool, Royal McGraw, Elliot Serrano & various

Guardians of the Galaxy #1
Brian Michael Bendis & Valerio Schiti

Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
Frank Barbiere & Brent Schoonover

I Hate Fairyland #1
Skottie Young

Invincible Iron Man #1
Brian Michael Bendis & David Marquez

Karnac #1
Warren Ellis & Gerardo Zaffino

LumberJanes: Beyond Bay Leaf #1
Faith Erin Hicks & Rosemary Valero-O'Connell

New Avengers #1
Al Ewing & Gerardo Sandoval

Paper Girls #1
Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang & Matt Wilson

Secret Wars: Agents of Atlas #1
Tom Taylor & Steve Pugh

Survivors Club #1
Lauren Beukes, Dale Halvorsen & Ryan Kelly

Titans Hunt #1
Dan Abnett & Paulo Siqueira

The Twilight Children #1
Gilbert Hernandez & Darwyn Cooke

Uncanny Avengers #1
Gerry Duggan & Ryan Stegman

Uncanny Inhumans #1
Charles Soule, Steve McNiven & Brandon Peterson

Graphic Novels

Camp Midnight GN
Steven T. Seagle & Jason Adam Katzenstein

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Volume 10): Old School HC
Jeff Kinney

Frank In the 3rd Dimension HC
Jim Woodring

Iscariot HC
S.M. Vidaurri

Killing and Dying HC
Adrian Tomine

Collected Editions

The Complete Voodoo (Volume 1) HC
Matt Baker, The Iger Shop, and various

Gahan Wilson's Out There SC
Gahan Wilson

Gil Kane's Undersea Agent HC
Steve Skeates, Gardner Fox & Gil Kane

Harrow County (Volume 1): Countless Haunts
Culleen Bunn & Tyler Crook

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Kevin O'Neill Gallery Edition HC
Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill

Sam Keith's The Maxx: Artist's Edition HC
Sam Kieth

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Box Set (Volume 1)
Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, Dan Duncan, Andy Kuhn & Ben Bates

Uptight SC
Jordan Crane


Appleseed Alpha (Volume 1)
Masamune Shirow

Fairy Girls (Volume 1)
Hiro Mashima

Junji Ito's Cat Diary: Yon & Mu GN
Junji Ito

LDK (Volume 1)
Ayu Watanabe

One-Punch Man (Volume 1)
ONE & Yusuke Murata

Planetes Omnibus (Volume 1) TP
Makoto Yukimura

Tokyo ESP (Volume 1)
Hajime Segawa

Comic Strip Collections

The Complete Peanuts: 1997-1998 HC
Charles M. Schulz

Walt & Skeezix (Volume 6): 1931-1932 HC
Frank King

Miscellaneous Items

Batman: A Celebration of the Classic TV Series HC
Bob Garcia

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

YA Pioneers: Nicole Davidson

YA may have blown up over the past decade, but it used to be a small section of bookstores.  In the early nineties, it consisted mostly of "teen thrillers," which mostly featured dark mysteries and serial killers, although there was some supernatural fare as well.  The authors of those days were ahead of their time and built an audience in teenagers, and paved the way for the YA that is beloved by so many today.

I think that what drew me personally to YA was my love for horror movies.  Growing up, I would stay up late watching Friday the 13th marathons and renting slasher films from the video stores.  I think that when I actually read some teen thrillers and realized that they were in the same vein as the movies that I loved so much, I became obsessed.  I'd always really enjoyed reading, but I become a voracious reader with YA books, and blew through the teen sections of bookstores quickly.

YA Pioneers

Nicole Davidson was one of my favorite YA authors growing up, and certainly my favorite in the slasher genre.  One of the first books I ever picked out myself, at a B. Dalton bookstore, was her book Demon's Beach.  I was expecting some demonic possession stuff, not a straight slasher, but I was pleasantly surprised nonetheless, and after reading subsequent books by Davidson, I would look forward to anticipating new books from her.

Before beginning her writing career in teen thrillers, Nicole Davidson released a children's book under the name Kathryn Jensen, along with Steve Smallwood, called The Revenge of the Ghostosaurs in 1987.  It was a tie-in to the popular Real Ghostbusters television/movie property.

As Kathryn Jensen, she would go on to write a few books in the Charisma, Inc series, which follows undercover teen spies, and then another teen novel called Pocket Change in 1989.  Pocket Change followed a teenager who was dealing with her veteran father as he was being tormented by flashbacks of the Vietnam War, while Charisma, Inc was more in line with the sort of thrillers that she would come to write as Nicole Davidson, heavy on mystery and thrills.  She also wrote a romance novel, Select Circles, which was the fourth book in the Fortunes series, and would return to that genre later in her career.

Crash Course was the first book to be published under the name Nicole Davidson, in July of 1990, through Avon Flare.  It launched her career in teen thrillers, and would go on to be a bestseller - later books would boast this proudly on their covers.  Its success would spawn the sequel, Crash Landing, years down the road.  Crash Course was early enough to really be alongside some of the very first teen thrillers.  It was a mystery involving a group of teenagers tormented by a killer in a remote location, a premise that Davidson would run with in subsequent books, to great effect.

Nicole Davidson's novels would all be published by Avon Flare, although HarperCollins UK would publish books Fan Mail, Night Terrors and Dying To Dance in 1996 under it Nightmares line, which was the publisher's attempt to compete with other popular teen horror lines, such as Point Horror.

Most of Davidson's releases were who-done-it murder mysteries.  After Winterkill, Demon's Beach and The Stalker, she would break out of the formula a bit with Fan Mail, featuring a teen actress receiving threats from an unknown assailant, and Night Terrors, which centers around a girl facing violent, disturbing nightmares.

In 1995, Nicole Davidson released her first series of books that would follow a single protagonist - the Final Cruise trilogy.  The story follows Carol Walters, a teenager who lands her dream job - on a cruise ship.  But, of course, bedlam ensues when a guest is pushed overboard.  I remember this series being a lot heavier on romance than her other titles, perhaps a hint of where her interests would soon head.

The final book that Nicole Davidson would publish for teens would be a sequel to her bestselling first book under the Davidson name (Crash Course).  The sequel, Crash Landing, would reunite readers with the original protagonist Kelly Peterson, and Deep Creek Lake, where the events of the first book took place, bringing Davidson's career in teen thrillers full circle.

Inevitably, teen thrillers would go out of style as the scene shifted, but Nicole Davidson continued her writing career, changing her focus from YA to romance.  Returning to the author name Kathryn Jensen, she would go on to write many romance novels over the next decade, including installments for Harlequin's Silhouette Desire and Silhouette Bombshell romance series lines, as well as Silhouette Books' Loop series.

Nicole Davidson YA titles

Crash Course (1990)
Winterkill (1991)
Demon's Beach (1992)
The Stalker (1992)
Fan Mail (1993)
Surprise Party (1993)
Night Terrors (1994)
Final Kiss (Final Cruise #1) (1995)
Kiss of Death (Final Cruise #2) (1995)
Farewell Kiss (Final Cruise #3) (1995)
Dying To Dance (1996)
Crash Landing (1996)