Friday, April 11, 2014

In Appreciation: Archie Andrews

This article originally appeared on AReCafe.

I like Archie Comics.

There, I said it. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’d read stacks of them as child through my middle school years – the single issues, the digests, the double digests. My parents were teachers, and as such we enjoyed lengthy summer vacations on the road. To keep the three of us from killing each other at 55MPH in a VW Microbus, she’d buy a ton of Archies, Jughead Jones digests, Betty’s Diary, Laugh Comics, Betty &Veronica, etc. Desert scenery of New Mexico whizzed past us while we delved into the antics of the gang in Riverdale. We’d circulate the comics among each other, then re-read. Familial harmony, thy name is Archie. I’m sure my mother thanks you.

I used to tell people my first foray into romance stories happened with the Sweet Valley High series. If I think about it now, I’d say Archie Comics was the gateway. After all, nearly every other adventure involved Archie on a date, trying to get a date, or proving he was the better choice of date than rival Reggie Mantle. Archie Comics have no doubt introduced young readers to the concept of the love triangle. Archie was always pressed to choose between Betty and Veronica. Given that Archie’s been around since the 40s, I’m sure any number of storytellers could cite this tense trio as an influence. From Betty or Veronica we probably got Ginger or Maryann, Gale or Peeta, and so forth.

You never saw Archie get to second base, though. For a cute guy with a car and mad guitar skills, he seemed content with smooching while fully dressed. One must wonder if Mr. Weatherbee ever had to schedule special talks during health class.

Of course, the recent series Life With Archie attempts to satisfy everybody with alternate realities in the Archieverse – he is married to Ronnie in one, Betty in the other. The more salacious of us might ask, “What, no three-way?” or “Yo, Arch, what about Jughead?” (come on, this is a hot romance site, I know some of you haven’t given up on the idea that Archie/Jughead could be more than “just friends”). The Life With Archie series actually got me back into comics. Yes, me – over-40 with the goal of reading every Pulitzer winner, waiting anxiously for the next issue of Archie comics. It makes me feel better, though, to know my daughter likes reading them as well. People might sniff at comics, but I don’t understand why you should. Comics are art, they are stories. From Archie one could learn the value of friendship…and how to juggle two people in a romantic entanglement.

So now I hear the powers that be plan to end that series by killing off Archie. It’s sad to hear, yes, but then I think of what happened when Family Guy knocked off the dog, and I figure the death only holds true for this particular storyline. In a later month I’ll check the Archie site and he’s back for another adventure with KISS or Josie and the Pussycats or else’s he fighting off Cheryl Blossom. Truth be told, I’ll be sad for the untimely ending, because dying young is not exactly how I pictured Archie going out. Archie is the ultimate nice guy – he didn’t always get the girl or the gig, and probably spent more time in detention than needed, but he deserved the Happy Ever After. Even if it involved buying a duplex at some retirement villa and shuffling between Betty and Veronica for bingo and Matlock reruns, it’s something.

So if Archie was your first romantic hero as well, maybe the news brings back some fond memories of comics in the back seat or checking the local convenient mart or comic store for new issues. I once thought I’d say goodbye simply by growing up and moving on to other things, but you never forget your first love.

Kat Lively


Tell the truth: Betty or Veronica?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Join Me for Authors After Dark!

Authors After Dark is coming QUICKLY and OMG this year is
going to be INSANE!

As always AAD is about the readers, and the amount of
awesome we have put together for you this year, you would be INSANE not to

First, our amazing Master of Ceremonies is none other than
Alexandra Ivy
! She will be doing a cool little event to celebrate your favorite
gargoyle, Levet on Friday
! Wanna know more? Check out the FB group where Alex
will be talking about the awesome that she has going on!

Torquere and authors BA Tortuga and Julia Talbot will be
Sponsoring our Welcome event, the Midnight Rodeo… And it looks like We will
have some VERY COOL goodies and… Riding… happening… *SNICKER*

How about Parties? This year we have a special event called
the Leather and Lace Ball! Curious? We thought so! Take a ride on the wild side and let your
inhibitions fly with five New York Times Bestselling Authors of erotic romance.
Cuffs and corsets encouraged.

J. Kenner, Liliana Hart, Carly Phillips, Janelle
Denison, Jasinda Wilder and
Lorelei James

The ladies will be talking more about
this on the FB group starting soon!

New for 2014 is the Paranormal Party!
Join over 20 Paranormal authors who will be giving away goodies, some books and
hanging out with you to snack and chat! Wanna know what authors are involved?
You will have to join the FB group to see!

And of course, we have the amazing
Masquerade Ball! This year it’s the SINS AND VIRTUES BALL! Are you a sin or a
virtue? Join us for a wild costumed event! Prizes for the best costumes,
including a 200$ gift certificate to Lori Ann Costumes!

Your Sins and Virtues Sponsors:

Boone Brux

Opal Carew

Sin Pride

BA Tortuga

Andrew Grey

Sin Envy

Stella Price

TJ Michaels

Sin Gluttony

Desiree Holt

Saranna DeWylde

Sin Greed

Ann Mayburn

Heather Long

Sin Sloth

Lizzie T. Leaf

Julie Morgan

Sin Wrath

Stacey Kennedy

Marianne Morea

Virtue Charity

Kerry Adrienne

Trista Ann

Virtue Chastity

Jenn LeBlanc

Annabel Jospeh

Virtue Humility

Milly Taiden

Donna McDonald

Virtue Kindness

CJ Ellisson

Alexandra Ivy

Virtue Temprance

J. Kenner

Sidney Bristol

Virtue Diligence

Denise Grover Swank

Jenna McCormick

Virtue Patience

Lousia Bacio

Kallypso masters

And if THAT isn’t enough awesome that will be going on… This
year we have an amazing off site costumed event… the Ladies on the Green event
sponsored by the AAD Anachronistic Society! This will be an hour and a Half on
the famous GREEN in Charlotte (a half block from the hotel). It will be a
Costumed event (though Costumes are not required they are encouraged!) to
celebrate Gothic, Victorian, steampunk dark historical literature! Your hosts
will be: Sahara Kelly, Amanda McIntyre, Leanna Renee Hieber, A.L. Davroe and
S.A. Price. Prizes and readings will happen, as well as photo ops!

And NEVER forget the Amazing Open bar with Mel Schroeder and
friends! They have SO MUCH awesome set up for you just before the Bookies… you
do NOT wanna miss that!

Getting excited yet? How about some info on the AWESOME mini
events we have going on? Ready?

On Wed. Night,  Join
Sasha White and Joey W. Hill for a wild party and Q&A
, Also, the Blind Date
Book Party
will be open to start your con right! (If you have never done a
BDBP, you are MISSING out! You need to attend, Get your blind date book, find
the author that wrote it, and hang out with them!)

Thursday?  Panels up
the wazoo, and the Bookie Awards----- goodies and books to be given out! The
hangout with The GNO girls lead by CJ Ellisson and Boone Brux
for some crazy
fun! And if that wasn’t enough?  Readings
and a Blogger Sleepover party as well!

Friday? More panels, a games carnival with Nina Gooden and
, Name that Author with Cat Johnson, and some other fun surprises!

Saturday? A few panels, the Big ass booksigning with 100
,  the Cowboy Stampede party, the
Readers Mad Tea Party with Hildie McQueen, An after the bookies event with a
special publisher sponsor
, And Jess Michaels’ Birthday extravaganza!

SEE? SO MUCH AWESOME! All the authors that are involved with
parties will be talking about their involvement on the FB group, so join up and
get ready to rock.

Oh? You say you’re not registered for AAD yet? You need to
be! All registrants get put in the hat for the welcome party prizes, and these
prizes are AMAZING! Breakfast with authors, Booze and Books, side trips to
Carrowwinds…. We have a minimum of 90 special prizes…. So…

You need to rock this con! And as if this wasn’t enough….
AAD will be giving away something really awesome to registrants…. Wanna know

How about 5 VIP registrations for THE NOVEL EXPERIENCE 2015


How about this… If we hit 100 more registrations from TODAY
April 10th to June 10th, we will give away 2 AAD
registrations for 2015…  2!!!!! So get
registered, get your room and get ready for one
HELL of an amazing year with


Monday, March 17, 2014

So Long, Fred, and Thanks For The, Uh...

I am bold in guessing Fred "God Hates F*gs" Phelps doesn't have many fans. Being Catholic, and hence one of his many targets, I am hardly endeared to the man. Phelps and Jack Chick are two people I could live without, and it appears we will lose one soon. I've followed social feeds that wish Phelps a long-suffering afterlife in Hell, I've seen plans to picket his funeral and do much worse in his memory. I've also seen pleas from others saying to leave it be - we let Phelps's passing go quietly and he won't get what he really wants, and that's more publicity.

Recently in a message board I follow a debate sprung forth about whether we should care, if we should point and give it our best Nelson Muntz "Ha-HAH" after decades of misery brought on by the man and his kin. I've heard Phelps, in his old age, has alienated much of his family. He may die old and alone - should we pity him? Christians are taught to forgive and turn the other cheek. That poses a challenge for those of us who've experienced continued bullying, either from pulpits or curbs from a court-ordered distance. Pope John Paul II once remarked in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope that we cannot be certain who is in Hell and who will go - even Judas. Perhaps the thought of Phelps burning for all eternity gives some comfort, but what more can one expect?

On this message board, somebody posed the question of whether or not people danced on Hitler's ruined bunker. Of course, one cannot compare Phelps to Hitler - the phrase "worse than Hitler" bothers me, as though one could sink lower. Anyway, it jarred my memory, and I found the full story of the time Groucho Marx visited Germany. He had gone to search his family roots, only to discover the cemetery where his ancestors had been laid was destroyed thanks to anti-Semitic fervor. His reaction to this was to seek out the bunker where Hitler died, and there he danced the Charleston.

If you've seen the Charleston, it's a lively dance. Arms swing, legs kick, all to high-octane music. It's more complicated than it looks; I've tried to dance it myself. No photographs or videos of this exist - we have only the word of those who accompanied Groucho on this trip. At first hearing, you might think damn, that's badass. I won't argue that Groucho was a comic genius, somebody I'd hang with, but I think of his mindset at the time. Was it really a happy thing to do, to dance on the closest thing to a grave associated with a monster who nearly wiped out your people? Did Groucho feel better for doing it? It didn't repair the cemetery, and nobody knows if it healed Groucho's heart.

Fred Phelps did nothing on the Hitler scale, though he did spawn a group of people who traveled the world as a so-called church. They litigated their way to funerals and events to wave their signs and shout insults to grieving families. They shunned their own children when they started asking questions. I personally wouldn't blame anybody who had to put up Fred Phelps first-hand to want to dance on his grave, or do much worse. I don't think it will make up for any pain caused, however.

So, what to do? You can forgive, and move on. You can expend your energy doing something positive. Donate to a worthy cause, one close to you. If you observe a faith, pray. If you don't, meditate on becoming less like Fred. I will likely pray and meditate on becoming more like Groucho. We need more humor.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
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