Some kids want to grow up to be doctors, or movie stars, or political assassins. Me, I wanted to draw comic books. Not Archie comics, either—superhero comic books. Maybe it was all the heavily muscled guys in spandex…
Around the time I was 15, I realized that as much as I enjoyed drawing (note that I’m saying nothing about the quality of those pics), it was a lot of fun putting words in the characters’ mouths. I didn’t know the term “fanfic” back then, but I started writing stories about the X-Men, Alpha Flight, and the Teen Titans. Didn’t do anything with those stories, other than horrify my mother. She asked why I couldn’t write nice stories, you know, about bunnies. Nope—me, I wanted to write about power. About magic. About hot guys in spandex. And about beating those guys bloody and senseless. (In retrospect, maybe I really did want to horrify my mother. Hey, not my fault. When I was a kid, I busted her doodling on the cover of New Teen Titans #6. Argh!)
So maybe it’s ironic that the book I wound up writing had nothing to do with overly muscled men and everything to do with scantily clad women. (Well, temporarily scantily clad.) Oh, right, and demons.
Previously, I was the fantasy editor for Wild Child Publishing. Along with working with terrific authors and editors, I’d been fortunate enough to interview a number of fabulous people for WCP, including Margaret Weis (I think Raistlin was my first crush).
Along with my adult novels, I also write young adult fiction under the byline Jackie Morse Kessler. For more about my secret identity as a young adult author, please visit my YA website: Jackie Morse Kessler.
In case you’re wondering, I live in Upstate New York, along with my Loving Husband and two Precious Little Tax Deductions, 1 cat, and way too many comic books.
The Riders of the Apocalypse: A Color-Coded Guide
By Jackie Morse Kessler
Working on the Riders of the Apocalypse series has given me a new appreciation for things like famine, war, sickness and death—because really, a life without these things is quite incomplete. Such strong (and, well, deadly) forces need strong representation. No one likes a weak anthropomorphic personification! And so, here is a quick, color-coded guide to help you know which Horseman you may be facing. Or, you know, becoming.
BLACK. The Black Rider is Famine, the blight of abundance. A whip-thin woman who wears a slimming black. Carries an old-fashioned set of scales, called a balance. Tends to keep sugar cubes in her pocket (for her horse, so she says). Listens to the Pale Rider (especially when he’s playing the guitar). Works well with the White Rider. Does not get along with the Red Rider, in the sense that oil does not get along with water. The cynic of the group.
RED. The Red Rider is War. Former incarnations have worn silver armor with red mesh, with a helm concealing the face. Brandishes a massive two-handed sword, which can be used for anything from slaughter to slicing apples. A very passionate incarnation who tends to act before thinking. Called “Death’s Handmaiden.” Works extremely well with the Pale Rider. Puts up with the White Rider. Can’t stand the Black Rider. The politician of the group.
WHITE. The White Rider is Pestilence, also called the Conqueror. Wears white from chin to boot; even though the clothing is pristine, there’s a sense of dust and dirt around him. A silver circlet sits on his brow, and he carries a bow that requires neither string nor arrow. His face is rather horrific to look at, but hey, if you housed all diseases of the world, your face wouldn’t look much better. When he’s in his right mind, he works well with the Black Rider. Is civil to the Red Rider. Is utterly terrified of the Pale Rider. The philanthropist of the group (sometimes).
PALE. The Pale Rider is Death, but don’t hold that against him. Tends to be laid back to the point that the other Riders have called him a slacker (just not to his face). When he loses his temper, it is a Very Bad Thing. In his current phase, he looks and sounds (and sings) just like a certain deceased alternative rock star. The philosopher of the group.
WED, APRIL 6:
Panel: Worldbuilding in Urban Fantasy
THURS, APRIL 7:
FRI, APRIL 8:
Panel: Say Anything? Boundaries In YA
SAT, APRIL 9:
Book Fair/Teen Day
Time: 11:00 am – 2 pm (Book Fair)
Time: 5 pm (Author Speed-Dating, session 2)
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