Friday, January 02, 2009

Guest blogger Justin Gustainis on the Future of Urban Fantasy (and book giveaway!)

Today's guest blogger (oh, we've got lots more coming, so stay tuned, or at least the blog version of 'staying tuned') is Justin Gustainis, who visited us last year to tell us about his Quincy Morris Supernatural Investigation urban fantasy series, beginning with Black Magic Woman. Read on to find out how you can win a copy of his latest release, Evil Ways.


The Future of Urban Fantasy
by Justin Gustainis

The start of a new year is often the time for prognostications, and I have decided to join the parade, get on the bandwagon, go with the flow, and generally embrace every cliché I can think of. Since urban fantasy is something I know a little about (I read it voraciously, and even write it occasionally), and because I have a number of important contacts in the publishing industry (several of who make more than minimum wage), I offer here my predictions of what we can expect to see in the urban fantasy field, in 2009 and beyond.

1. New occupations. Let’s face it, if you’re an urban fantasy protagonist, (hereafter UFP) you’ve gotta do something for a living. Not only does it give you a pretext for messing around in the weird shit, it also helps pay the expenses that inevitably come with the territory (the rising price of precious metals, for instance, means that silver bullets are increasingly becoming a luxury item). We’ve already got UFPs who are wizards, witches, disc jockeys, bounty hunters, waitresses, private detectives, exorcists, cops, secret agents, and mechanics. The writer’s ongoing struggle to find a new hook, a fresh face, and a nice three-book deal, means that we can soon expect to find at our local Barnes & Noble such characters as: Biff Buttcrack, Supernatural Plumber (“No clog too small, no monster too large”), Suzanne Menskowitz, Publicist of the Preternatural (her PR releases have meant the end to more than one evil being’s career), Murray Michaels, Occult Accountant (Just one spreadsheet error, Creatures of the Night, and he’s got you!) and Krystal von Hellsting, Paranormal Porn Star (who can instantly drain any vamp or werewolf of his, er, bloodlust).

2. New lifestyles. Many UFPs are more than human. Some are witches or wizards, with the ability to work magic; others are dhampires, powerful as vampires but resistant to sunlight; still others are werewolves, who can shapeshift with the best of them. In order to build a fan base, new writers are going to have to avoid these well-trod literary paths and come up with their own dual-nature UFPs. In 2009 we can expect to see books featuring werehamsters (those cheek pouches can hold a lot of wolfsbane), occult comedians (while you’re laughing at “Stake my wife – please!” they’ll drench you with holy water) and ghoulgles (half human-half ghoul creatures whose breath can repel a whole horde of enraged elves).

3. New weapons. Fresh supernatural challenges demand advances in occult weapons technology. In the future, UFPs will have access to “smart” invisibility cloaks, which will automatically make them disappear in the presence of demons, goblins, and Mary Kay sales reps; magically unflattering pants, which will guarantee that they will never appear on a book cover with their rears facing the reader, and supernatural staffs which, when the proper spell is cast, turn into solid dark chocolate – because, sometimes, you’ve just gotta have chocolate.

Will these predictions come true in the New Year? Only time, the desperation of publishers, and the tolerance of the reading public, will tell.

Happy New Year, everybody!


Leave a comment or a question for Justin, or tell us your predictions for the future of urban fantasy (or books in general) between now and 11:59pm EST next Friday (January 9) to be automatically entered to win an autographed copy of his new release, Evil Ways.

If you don't have a Blogger account, just sign your name and be sure to either check back next week to see if you won, or leave a way to get in touch with you (signing your e-mail address not recommended, due to spam issues).

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Very entertaining. :)

Posted by: Blogger Renee Sweet at 1/02/2009 6:40 PM

What an interesting post!

Posted by: Blogger macbeaner at 1/02/2009 7:14 PM

You forgot the best one! A vampire nurse, cause really, it's not nice to play with your food but the food availability here would be AWESOME.

Posted by: Blogger Wendy at 1/02/2009 9:23 PM

This was really amusing. ;-) The comment in comments about the Vampire Nurse also amused me because it reminded me of the period when I worked at a bookstore and everyone in the universe was looking for a copy of Satanic Verses...only, often, they couldn't remember the real name -- so we got some requests for Satanic Nurses.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 1/02/2009 9:37 PM

lol I always think when reading UF doesn't anyone have a boring occupation by day? I dunno, a UPS guy, or a secretary? Hmm no offense to anyone! Great blog :D

Posted by: Blogger Brooke Reviews at 1/02/2009 11:54 PM

Wendy, you're incorrigable!


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 1/03/2009 12:49 AM

love black magic woman! looking forward to all of your book sto come in the many years ahead
your storys are just wonderful and i can lose myself in them

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 1/03/2009 1:01 AM

Why, thank you, Justin! I'll take that as a compliment.

Posted by: Blogger Wendy at 1/03/2009 7:51 AM

Hi Justin! Happy New Year!

What a cool and entertaining post. :)

Personally, I LOVE reading and writing UF, so whatever occupations are thrown out there, I'm willing to read. Lol.

Posted by: Blogger Yolanda Sfetsos at 1/03/2009 8:27 AM

Happy New Year, Justin! Thanks for the great interview!

Do you have a problem with Mary Kay reps that you need to hide from them?

I loved Evil Ways! Can't wait to see what happens in Sympathy for the Devil!

Thanks again,

Posted by: Blogger Katie at 1/03/2009 9:23 AM


I tend to run away screaming whenever approached by a woman wearing pink. I think my Mom may have been frightened by a Mary Key rep while she was carrying me. ;)

I'm pleased you liked EVIL WAYS. Would you consider posting a brief review to the book's Amazon page? I'd sure appreciate it!


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 1/03/2009 10:12 AM

woah interesting post ! I'd love to enter :)

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 1/03/2009 1:04 PM

I so agree with the 'need new weapons' thing. Another heroine with a semi-auto or a katana? Boring. How about a cheese grater or, better yet, a Dustbuster? Now that's a battle I'd like to see.

Heroine: Suck up and die, Ghoul!
Ghoul: ARGGGGGGG......

Thanks for the post, sir. Very fun! Now I think I must step away from the wine...

Posted by: Blogger Jana Oliver at 1/03/2009 7:51 PM

Loved the post. It was great!

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 1/04/2009 4:20 AM

Hi Justin~

What a great had chuckling as I was reading it. I am looking forward to reading Evil Ways!

Posted by: Blogger Lori T at 1/04/2009 10:36 PM

Loved Black Magic Woman and waiting impatiently for the next in the series (whether I win it or not!)

In light of the current economic recession we can likely see demonic loan officers specializing in repossession following an exorcism.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 1/05/2009 1:30 AM

Happy New Year to one and ALL!

I just wanted to let you know Justin - that I have had your books in my radar for a while now. My TBR pile is just soo big that I hadn't a chance to grab them yet! But they look wonderful and I would really like a signed copy!!!!

But just to let you know that my predictions for books in general is that they aren't going anywhere - at least not with me around! LOL

Posted by: Blogger Ruth Schaller at 1/05/2009 10:37 AM

The future of urban fantasy is wide open in my opinion. Charlaine Harris has burst open the door to new fans who have come over since TrueBlood became a series from her Sookie Stackhouse novels. I think anything could happen in this genre and the future looks very bright.


Posted by: Blogger Asylumgirl at 1/05/2009 2:08 PM

I think as a writer that's the biggest challange, to come up with a new twist on things, something to make the world you are building different from others in the genre. I think we all hope we've done that successfully.

Posted by: Blogger Moondancer at 1/05/2009 4:20 PM

I think Justin is on the right track with new types of characters that have a dual role. What new character do you see developing for you Justin?

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 1/05/2009 6:29 PM


I'm going to be writing a new series for HarperCollins about an occult detective operating in Scranton, PA (my home town, as well as Joe Biden's). It's in an alternate universe, where supernatural creatures are acknowledged and accepted, if not exactly trusted. Stan Markowski is a detective on the Scranton P.D.'s Occult Crimes Investigation Unit, which everyone calls the "Supe Squad." And, no, I'm not abandoning Quincey and Libby. More books about them are on the horizon.


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 1/05/2009 7:01 PM

I think we are at the beginning of the urban fantasy boom! There are still many areas/topics that have yet to go urban fantasy...and I'm glad for that because I'm not ready for it to end!!!
Thanks so much for this giveaway!
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Posted by: Blogger darbyscloset at 1/05/2009 7:38 PM

That was a great posting! I'm always interested in learning where the urban fantasy genre is headed, and Justin's take on it was quite witty! I'm definitely adding his books to my TBR list!
As far as the future of the genre, I think that maybe multiculturalism will be a new trend---people will want to read about creatures from non-European folklore, creatures that may be less familiar to them than the traditional vampires and werewolves. I've already seen such examples as Japanese kitsunes, Native American skinwalkers, and practitioners of voodoo, and I'm sure there are further examples that my limited imagination and reading scope can't come up with right now!

Posted by: Blogger Kimberly B. at 1/06/2009 7:23 AM

I also think we are at the beginning of a UF boom.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 1/06/2009 2:04 PM

I like the idea of an occult accountant, especially if he/she can magic away my taxes and make me a little richer. I would buy his book for sure lol
(sorry right LJ ID is with this comment, not the one above)

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 1/07/2009 10:38 AM

I'm kind of frightened of the idea of werehamsters. Would they be hamster sized or human sized? A huge hamster is pretty frightening thought...even if it was pretty much regular hamster sized it would be kind of scary. It would be able to fit into so many spaces and hide...and then what if it did and then changed back? Ouch! ;)

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 1/08/2009 9:42 AM

I see urban fantasy novels taking reading to a whole new level. Great giveaway!


Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 1/08/2009 3:13 PM

Perfect timing! Very interesting post I plan to share with my students in the Masters program at Seton Hill University. I've been sucker in to teach on trends in sf/f/h and have no real grasp of the UF Thanks!

I don't know if I'm registered user or not - but Jeri knows where to find me ;>

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 1/09/2009 3:11 PM

Love to have this.


Posted by: Blogger Lady Roxi at 1/09/2009 8:19 PM

I read Black Magic Woman and I absolutely love it. I cant wait to read Evils Ways (whether I win or not).


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 1/09/2009 9:12 PM

Congrats to Yolanda, who won a copy of Justin's new book EVIL WAYS! Yolanda, please send your mailing address to jeri AT jerismithready DOT com.

Thanks to Justin for being a great guest, and thanks to everyone who commented. Have a great week!

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