It was surprising,
validating . . . and, of course, exhausting. But it was an amazing adventure!
The best part was that I met so many Dark Shadows fans who had never been to
the festivals, and that was an unexpected gift. Also, everywhere I went I was welcomed by
old friends and recognizable faces.
Each stop was like time capsule, unique and
completely different from the last: a different city, a different landscape, a
different crowd, a different bed to sleep in that night. I drove up the
California coast, flew on six different airplanes, and rode the train four times. I stayed with family; I stayed with friends. I also stayed with complete
strangers. It was fifty degrees in misty Portland which was so lush and green I thought I was in Ireland. It was ninety degrees in humid Orlando where Spanish moss hung from
the trees. And it rained on all those outlandish Dragon-con costumes in Atlanta
until they melted into wet crepe paper blobs.
I was afraid every time that I wouldn’t find the bookstore.
Did I have the right address in San Francisco? Where in the world was Tigard,
Oregon? Would the bookstore owners remember I was coming? At each stop I was
terrified that no one would show up and that I would be greeted by rows and
rows of empty seats.
But I shouldn’t have worried. I ended up sitting for hours
signing books and chatting with wonderful people. The crowd at each bookstore
was so enthusiastic, and so eager to share Dark Shadows memories. I was
reminded once again how many loyal fans there are out there and how the
show still means so much to so many people even after all these years.
The launch was at The Grove in Los Angeles. I was delighted
to have secured such a beautiful venue and seeing my picture in the window of
the bookstore was an unexpected surprise. I was nervous, so I tried to arrive
early just to visit with any fans who had already come. Then as the time to
start the program grew near, and I grew more and more anxious, sixty, seventy
friends began to file in, and we had a great time arguing about the virtues and
blunders of the Johnny Depp movie. (smile)
Hoping to tempt more people to buy my book, I tried to read the
Prologue from WOLF MOON RISING, but sadly, the microphone kept fading in and
out. It was distracting, to say the least, reading Gothic
horror and trying to hold the attention of a restless audience with the sound fading,
then blaring. So I put the mike down, and we all talked about Dark Shadows, which
was what everyone wanted to do anyway. There were some challenging questions: "What
do you think is the reason for the popularity of vampires in today’s culture?” Hmmm.m.m.m. . .
My family were all there, my two sons, Rick Parker and Andy
Parker, and their lovely wives, Miranda and Celia, and even my five-year-old
grandson, Wesley, looking very grown up in a new jacket. Kathryn Leigh Scott
came, even though she was nursing a sore throat, and there are some great shots
of us both on Getty Images. Roger Davis and Donna came as well, a great surprise for the fans. I was in the middle of my reading when the microphone stopped
working, but it didn’t matter. I was so delighted to have such a warm and
The next day, my husband Jim and I drove to San Diego, where
I had fewer people, but I read a whole uninterrupted chapter from my book and
signed a stack of phone orders. I’d brought a bottle of wine and crackers and
cheese, so we had a party. What a lovely bookstore Mysterious Galaxy is! And
the people working there couldn’t have been sweeter.
Then we were off to San Francisco the next day, driving through
traffic, searching the Mission district for Borderlands. At first the owner,
Alan Beatts, had not wanted to book me because they have a policy against
TV-tie ins, but when he heard it was Dark Shadows, happily, he changed his mind.
Now I hoped he would remember I was coming.
The staff greeted me warmly with a cappuccino from their
lovely cafe. My friend, David-Elijah Nahmod, had written a great piece for the
SF Weekly, and that brought in quite a few readers. And best of all, my mentor
from Antioch, well known San Francisco writer Dodie Bellamy was there with her
husband Kevin Killian, adding some literary caché to the crowd that had grown
considerably by 7:00 PM. We spent the night with my daughter-in-law’s aunt and
uncle, Joanie and Stephen Byrne in their beautiful apartment.
Before taking off for Portland the next morning, we all
watched the America’s Cup boats practicing on the bay—amazing yachts, not
really boats at all, but closer to enormous airplanes with rigid sails like
wings. The 72 foot long contraptions rise up out of the water on two tiny
The drive to Portland was long, but we passed through some
of the most beautiful redwood forests I have ever seen, especially between
Crescent City and Grant’s Pass. When I get to heaven, I don’t want streets of
gold; I want old growth forests with towering trees for my paradise.
My aunt, Ardeane Heiskell Smith, who is a sprightly 92 years
of age, lives in Salem, Oregan, and she and her husband Warren (a young 89),
welcomed me with open arms. Jim and I visited with them for 45 minutes before
jumping back in the car and heading for Portland, and another Barnes &
Noble in Tigard. I expected a small crowd in such an out-of-the-way spot, but I
was wrong. The room was packed! There are Dark Shadows fans everywhere wanting
to say hello!
Next stop: Atlanta, and four days at Dragon-con! The
festival was spread out over four downtown hotels, and boasted a crowd of
62,000 eager participants! I’d been living out of a suitcase for a week now,
and my clothes were looking rumpled, but Kathryn Leigh Scott and I manned our
tables for long hours alongside Lindsay Wagner and Lee Majors (who, admittedly,
didn’t put in the time we did).
Kathryn and I also appeared on four Dark Shadows panels and
we chatted with many people who had come to Dragon-con expressly to meet us. We
also discovered a new demographic: grown children of Dark Shadows fans who came
to our table to buy a book or a picture for their mom. “I just want to get something for my
mom. She and I bonded watching Dark Shadows when I was
As the room filled up with thousands of people, Kathryn and
I witnessed a phenomenal parade of costumed con-goers from every imaginable TV
show, movie, graphic novel or comic book.
Most of them I didn’t recognize, but
I grew quite fond of Steam Punk, a bizarre confection of leather, goggles,
rusted metal corsets, and tubes!
And whatever you do, don’t get caught in a
crowded elevator with a zombie!
Our good friend and faithful fan, Scott Farris, whose
birthday bash Kathryn and I attended last year, took care of us, lugging books
and pictures and arranging a special dinner in town for an amazing group of
followers including Wallace McBride who has been a great help publicizing the
tour and keeping my Facebook page up to date.
I also had a quick morning visit in Atlanta with my good
friend, John Farris, author extraordinaire, who has written over forty novels
in the paranormal and Southern Gothic genres, and whose generous quote graces
the front of my new book.
I arrived in Orlando exhausted, but I was met by the
president of the Central Florida Dark Shadows Fan Club, Patrick McCann.
The next day, members of the fan club, all wearing their tee shirts depicting
Barnabas in true Florida garb--a mask, flippers, and snorkel--took me to dinner. I was wined and
dined and given lovely presents, all unexpected, and the entire club turned out
to meet me.
They gather once a month to watch and discuss episodes of Dark
Shadows, and they’ve been a going club for decades! I was also delighted that
old high school friends Sandra and Wesley Gibbs drove all the way from the
coast to say hello. What a beautiful surprise!
Memphis, my hometown, brought sweet memories. Not much has
changed and driving past all the places where I grew up was a bittersweet
pleasure. I was chauffeured by John Beifuss who is the movie critic for the
Commercial Appeal, and who wrote a very kind blurb on the back of WOLF MOON
RISING. My oldest friend, Jo Potter, came to the reading. I’ve known her for so
long! She was my maid of honor, and I even remember making her wedding dress!
The next morning, before I left for New York, I had a guest
interview on Live at 9 with Marybeth Conley and Alex Coleman on WREG-TV. The interview was at
9:30 and my flight was at 11:00! I did the interview then raced to the
airport terrified I would miss my plane. I had been In Memphis less than 48
And I'd been talking about Dark Shadows non-stop for two weeks!
Jim met me at LaGuardia—amazing that we found each
other!---but he was terribly sick with a cold. We grabbed a taxi to Penn Station where, dashing for the track, we caught the train to Hudson, NY, where my daughter lives. Exhausted
from traveling all day, we stared out the window in a tired daze at the Hudson river reflecting the last of the light.
Caiti lives in a tiny
1830’s farmhouse on 150 acres of rolling hills, streams, ponds, and woodlands.
I was not prepared for the beauty of the place.
I was able to catch my breath
for a day or two, and visit farmers’ markets and antique stores in a few of the
charming towns of the area. Perhaps I should change my idea of heaven to the Hudson River
Caiti works for the artist, Dan Colen, as a chef on his farm,
and they invited us to lunch. His house is filled with paintings. She has planted a huge garden to harvest for free food banks.
Finally, the most exciting of them all: New York! Monday morning I was on the train
early on my way to the city. I grabbed a taxi for the Iroquois Hotel where a TV
station was hidden behind the lobby. There I filmed an appearance on the New
York TV show, PROFILES with Mickey Burns. I was breathless, and a little too
excited, but I managed to get through it. The director’s wife and the
cameraman? Once again, they were both Dark Shadows fans!
The PROFILES episode will be kicking off
their Fall Season on Friday, October 18th at 10:30 PM and Monday, October 21st at
12:30 PM. Visit VOD Page for other PROFILES Interviews.
After the interview my publicist, Aisha Cloud, took me up to the TOR
offices in the Flatiron Building where I met my darling editor, Stacy Hill, and
we all went to lunch. I was so excited about the book signing that night I
could barely eat.
I arrived at the bookstore only to be greeted by a flashing
marquee with my picture! The people at Barnes & Noble were very good to me
everywhere I went, and, guess what? There was standing room only, and the store was completely sold out of books! I am amazed by the following Dark Shadows still has, and humbled by the part I play in it all.
My fellow Dark Shadows actress, Marie Wallace, showed up and
shared the stage to the delight of the audience who had not expected to see her
as well. I felt right at home with good friends there to support me. Lee Rosenbloom
came all the way from Detroit! My great friend, Marlene Ascherman was in the crowd
along with my godson, Vaj Potenza!
Afterwards, Vaj’s dad, Bart Potenza, hosted us all to an
amazing dinner at his elegant vegan restaurant, Candle 79. (www.candle79.com) Seven courses of utterly
delicious food, all of it vegan. Anyone
who lives in New York should make a special effort to treat themselves there,
and I’ll be sure to go back next time I’m in the city.
The last stop for your weary traveler was Dark Delicacies in
Burbank California. The crowd was small but interesting and a lovely piece in
the LA Times by Susan King brought in curious readers and a stack of phone
orders. The ever faithful Marcy Robin was there to provide moral support, along
with Debbie Andrus and Gwynne Garfinkle. Nothing can ever take the place of good friends, and I am blessed.
I’m relieved that it is over, but I’m sad as well. Would I
do it all again? Absolutely. I discovered, to my amazement, that our TV show is still well-remembered and well-loved across the country. And here comes the cruise! We’re all going to sea!
As you can tell, Dark Shadows is in my blood!
SHADOWGRAM OFFICIAL ONLINE DARK SHADOWS NEWS UPDATE
Update Number 291
July 31, 2013
Hello, Dark Shadows Fan,
ShadowGram (SG), The Official Newsletter & News
Source for Dark Shadows (DS) announces the following breaking news in this
Official Online News Update "bulletin."
**** LARA PARKER’S NEW DS NOVEL – NATIONWIDE
Lara (Angelique) asks SG to announce all 9 of her
book tour appearances for her 3rd
DS novel, “Dark Shadows: Wolf Moon Rising.” The publication date is August 20,
from Tor Books, and the launch is at Barnes & Noble at The Grove in Los
Angeles on that date.
She talked with me at length about the book and its
various points of view: “Barnabas's, of course, but also Quentin's, and young
David's – who has fallen in love with Jacqueline, a mysterious witch girl.”
Lara hopes that many fans will come to each event.
More of her comments follow the tour listings below.
Tues., Aug. 20 (Official publication date!) – 7:00 pm
– Barnes & Noble at The Grove (at Farmers’ Market) – 189 The Grove Drive,
Suite K-30, Los Angeles, CA. (323) 525-0270.
Wed., Aug. 21 – 7:00 pm - Mysterious Galaxy - 7051
Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite 302, San Diego, CA. (858)
Fri., Aug. 23 – 7:00 pm – Borderlands Books – 866
Valencia St., San Francisco, CA. (415) 824-8203.
Mon., Sept. 9 – 7:00 pm – Barnes
& Noble - 150 E. 86 St. NYC, NY 10028. (212) 369-2180.
Mon., Sept. 14 – 2:00 pm – Dark Delicacies - 3512
W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA. (818) 556-6660 /
If it isn't possible for you to come to a book signing, you might call the bookstore nearest you and order a copy to be autographed while Lara is there and sent to you.
Following are Lara’s comments about the book and
“I’m very excited about my 3rd
“It’s a whole new Dark Shadows chapter and it moves
very fast,” with three different storylines in two different
For one thing, “Quentin has lost the portrait” that
keeps him youthful and his werewolf curse at bay. Now he dreads the full
moon. “Everyone is doomed,” Lara said, laughing.
“A treat for the fans is the Humbert Allen
Astredo character, Nathaniel Blair. He is Nicholas Blair’s brother, and
he's a scientist and an expert in the occult. He comes to Collinwood
because he suspects a vampire is being harbored there. He wants to find the
creature and perform an autopsy!"
At the same time, “David Collins is 16 and in love
with Jacqueline, also16, an artist – and the reincarnation of
“The two teenagers decide to look for the portrait
and so they go back in time to a very exciting period, the Roaring 20s,
where Elizabeth Collins is 19 and a flapper, a party girl in a sparkly
dress with her blonde hair cropped short.”
“There is a lot here for those who loved the
show," and the book is dedicated to the Dark Shadows fans. "Whether you
raced home from school to miss not a minute or discovered the DVDs only
yesterday, if you fell under the spell, this book is for you.
“You are and have been loyal and steadfast. You
come to the conventions, form groups on Facebook, share in all kinds of social
media, and more.
“I recently was asked on my webpage if I’m being
paid to do this book tour. No, I am not. I’m doing it on my own because I want
to meet more of you. I plan to show up at each of the book signings at least an
hour early to enjoy being with you."
**** “Dark Shadows: Wolf Moon Rising,” will
be released on Tues., Aug. 20, through bookstores and online retailers.
Pre-orders can be placed at various online sources
such as amazon.com
http://www.barnesandnoble.com and other bookseller
websites and sources can ship pre-orders to you or to your local store for
pick-up on the official release date (Aug. 20).
Lara also shares these reviewers’ comments:
"A suspenseful, scary, superbly crafted
addition to the Dark Shadows saga--once you begin reading you can't put it
down." --- John Farris, New York Times best-selling author of The Fury.
“Lara Parker is as bewitching and cunning an author
as she was when she portrayed the sexy enchantress Angelique on Dark Shadows…Wolf
Moon Rising injects new blood into a classic saga on werewolves and
vampires.”—The Commercial Appeal on DARK SHADOWS: WOLF MOON RISING
On her second novel, “Dark Shadows: The Salem
“Fans of Dark Shadows have long awaited this
second book by Parker. (She) has done her research. She takes us effortlessly
from Collinsport in 1971 to Salem Village in 1692 and does a wonderful job of
capturing the history of both periods. Her spellbinding plot and descriptive
prose will please those who love a supernatural romance. She has captured the
characters, the dialogue, and the spirit of the show perfectly.”—Romantic
Times Book Reviews on Dark Shadows: The Salem Branch
**** Fans attending any of Lara’s book tour events
are invited and encouraged to please send their photos, video footage, reports,
local publicity materials and articles, media coverage, reviews, interviews,
etc., to SG. Please send hard copies (newspapers, magazines, flyers) when
possible and always include your full name, the date, and the complete source
Please send all materials to SG’s e- and/or postal-
Lara’s first 2 DS novels – “Angelique’s Descent” and
“The Salem Branch” – both were published by Tor Books. Both novels were
re-issued by the company last year, in a number of languages and countries
SG Update # 289 (May 7, 2013) shared her news that
her 4th DS book will explore the
story of Victoria Winters.
My new Dark Shadows novel Wolf Moon Rising is released in August. Here's an interview about writing the book, which was originally published on the Dark Shadows News Page...
You've recently completed the manuscript for Wolf Moon Rising. How was the writing process this time around?
Honestly? It was hard – grueling at times. This is a complicated story and there are four or five points of view from various characters, so it was much harder to write. I gave myself a difficult task, to take this whole group of characters and have their stories intertwine.
When you're writing, do you have any tricks to get you into the story?
I always pick a season. For The Salem Branch, it was fall and the trees... This time it's the dead of winter – everything's white and covered in snow. David has a snowmobile he dug out of the garage – he's quite handy with mechanical things. So he drives this snowmobile quite recklessly through the woods behind Collinwood and the sea road on the way to the Old House. In The Salem Branch, you explored a more adolescent version of David Collins than we saw on the series...
I tend to be much fonder of my own characters – they're much more alive for me. I think that the 16-year-old David is really my creation now. When we last saw him [on television], he was eleven or twelve, but had certain characteristics that are still there. He's quite self-centred and full of himself, and thinks himself to be very smart.
What's in store for him this time around?
There's a romance between David and the young girl, Jacqueline, who are both 16. David is totally besotted – he's so in love with her that he can't think straight. But she's distant, because she's troubled by the fact that she remembers her past lives – she's actually a reincarnation of Angelique. She can remember being in Salem, being on the scaffold and Martinique and swimming in the ocean. She's very schizophrenic and unpredictable.