Welcome to Biting-Edge, a blog shared by authors and vampire experts, Mario Acevedo and Jeanne Stein. We’ll cover urban fantasy, vampires, pop culture, and all things Joss Whedon. Unlike other fantasy blogs, we don’t insist on body cavity searches (unless you ask politely). Snarkiness is most welcome...though we won't promise not to bite back!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

MileHiCon was a blast! Sci/Fi people are crazy fun and I really enjoyed it. Some of the costumes in the Masquerade Walk were spectacular. And the best thing was the way entire families participated. It must be fun to grow up in a family with a common interest. Especially one where you get to let your imagination run wild. A few glitches—my first panel was on what happens after you get published—the marketing, promo angle. Unfortunately, our moderator kind of took off on a wild hair and we never did address the subject the way I think we were supposed to. Then, Mario and I were scheduled to read from our books and the fire alarms went off!! After forty minutes and no relief in sight, I just went home for the night. Did I mention this was at 11 p.m.? Past my bedtime for sure. But got to meet some really nice people, Fred Cleaver of the Denver Post, Rose Beetem who arranged the program, and Nina and Ron Else who ran the bookstore.

And speaking of bookstores, I’ll be signing at the Tattered Cover Highlands Ranch on December 11. Now let’s hope the weather holds. I’m so excited about it. The reviews have been good, if that means anything, but the real proof will be if I can sell some books. That scares me more than a little.

Just read in the newest issue of RT that Joss Whedon is partnering with Dark Horse Comics in a Buffy graphic novel that will pick up where the series left off. Whedon will write the first and final four issues of the planned 22-issue run. The first issue is due in March. I, for one, can’t wait.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
  Happy Hallowieners

This weekend I attended MileHiCon 38 held here in Denver, CO. It was three days of SciFi and Fantasy mayhem and fun. Star Gate soldiers, Harry Potter look-alikes, Klingons, and a few zombies (see above) mixed together, especially at night when helped by copius amounts of alcohol.

I had the priviledge of speaking on panels with authors Daniel Abraham, Paolo Bacigalupi, Theresa Crater, and Harley Elizabeth Garwood. We discussed the arduous task of getting published and parsed the tampering of mythos (except me, the talk turned too brainy to follow). I also met fellow fantasy writers, our own Jeanne Stein and Carol Berg. If you wanted steel weapons or flowered wreaths, the dealers' room had plenty of goodies. Who Else Books supported us writers by offering plenty of our books.

I learned what Filking was--folk singing with a fantasy fan slant--and Fan Fiction Slash--short stories about your favorite heroes, in this case, the consumated gay romance between Captain James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock.

The con was a great way to start the Halloween celebration.

Check out Acts I to IV of Thriller Chiller Theater. But beware.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Little bits of book news this week: Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego will host a book launch for THE BECOMING December 9. I'm in the process now of visiting book stores here in my hometown of Denver to promote. It's not an easy thing for me to do but so far, the response has been good. Hopefully, I line up a signing or two here as well.

This weekend is Devner's MileHiCon, the local scifi convention. Mario and I are appearing on panels and though my book isn't available yet, I'll be out there plugging!I think this one should be fun.

The anthology, MANY BLOODY RETURNS, featurning such notables as Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Tanya Huff and Christopher Golden among many others (including me!) is now set for publication in Sept. of next year...and in hardback!! That was a pleasant surprise since it was orignially pitched as a softback. The editor at Ace, Ginjer Buchanan, liked it so much, she decided to go out in hardback. Yippee! My first hardback!

And, lastly, I wanted something to hand out at MileHiCon since I don't have a book yet. I ordered magnets from Cafe Press and I have to tell you, they turned out terrifically! I'd recommend them for quality and price anytime.

Be sure to check out Mario's story on Chiller Theatre.
It's creepy scary for Halloween!
Sunday, October 22, 2006
  Another hero
This last Wednesday I attended the 2007 Colorado Book Awards Gala. Jeff Shelby invited his critique partners, which includes me, to cheer him on. Jeff was a finalist in the popular fiction category for his debut novel Killer Swell. His competition included two other writer friends of mine, mystery author Margaret Coel, and fantasy author Carol Berg.

To avoid parking hassles (and in case I imbibed a wee bit much), I took the light rail. Amazingly, the stop is only two blocks from my place and goes directly to the Convention Center, a block from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the location of the Book Awards. Hell, that meant the most I had to walk was three blocks total, which I think I could do drunk (or at least try).

The Book Awards Gala was in the swanky Donald R. Seawell Grand Ballroom. Unfortunately, my plans to get lit were derailed by the price of my first Manhattan. Eight bucks! Anyway, I schmoozed and met lots of great people. Here's a picture of us (minus me and Tom Lawson).

From left to right, Margie Lawson, Stephanie (Jeff's better half by a lot), Jeff, and Jeanne Stein. The picture looks blurry because of my 100 proof filter.

Dinner was some kind of bacon-wrapped mystery meat. Nick Forester of etown provided the entertainment.

Anyway, Margeret Coel won this category. She deserved it, as did Carol and Jeff. What to do? Easy. Buy Jeff's newest book: Wicked Break.
Friday, October 20, 2006
  Selling the Sizzle

Had a busy week doing all the promo stuff for my novel. I went to the Latino Book & Family Festival and got to meet Zane, the best-selling author of smoking hot erotica. She's started her own imprint with my publishers, Simon & Schuster. I also got quoted in the LA Times, which was swell.

Had a couple of interviews for various publications. I kept saying things and then adding, "Don't write that I said that!" You think I'd know better since I write interviews myself.

How much do these appearances and interviews increase the chances of success with a book? I haven't a clue. As Jeanne wrote below, a big chunk o' change can be dumped into the promotion of a book and it goes nowhere -- although The Interpretation of Murder seems to be doing fairly well, so I don't know why the publisher is kvetching.

I had to get my car smogged, so I popped into the Starbuck's next door for some attitude with my coffee while I waited. I noticed they were selling a book, For One More Day, that Mitch Albom wrote specifically for the coffee chainstore.

So what kind of book sells the Starbuck's brand? A book about spending one more day with a dead relative. So the next time you think about your dead relatives, think double latte! (Okay, I do always think of dead male models when I think of Orange Mocha Frapacchinos.)

Not that I'm against tie-ins to your book. I would say that I totally support anything that supports book sales -- except that I'm completely creeped out by O.J. Simpson writing a book titled If I Did It.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
  What's A Writer To Do?
There was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal Monday. Tells the story of how one publisher, Henry Holt & Co., paid over $1.3 million in advances and marketing to make a debut novel into an instant best seller. Long story short, it didn’t work. In fact at last accounting, Holt will be lucky to recoup half of its investment. It isn’t that the book, “The Interpretation of Murder” by Jed Rubenfeld, wasn’t a good one. The reviews were pretty uniformly positive. And it wasn’t that the author didn’t put himself out there. He was sent on a pre-pub tour and met with reps of major bookstores who seemed excited about the book. So what went wrong? Timing, for one thing. While the publisher started months in advance to promote the book, come publication time another debut novel, “The Thirteenth Tale” stole its thunder. In fact, Barnes & Noble, who met with Rubenfeld early on and promised to hand sell his book, fell in love with “The Thirteenth Tale” and made it the inaugural pick for its new program, Barnes and Noble Recommends.

Why do I mention this? Let’s face it, success in this business has as much to do with luck as talent. In fact, the article ends with an interesting tidbit. In case you’re worried about the future of Henry Holt & Co., on Sept. 20 when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave his incendiary speech to the U.N., he held up a copy of a book, “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance.” The book shot up on Amazon’s bestseller list resulting in an additional print run of 50,000 copies. The publisher? You guessed it, Henry Holt & Co.

I you want to read the article, "The Wall Street Journal's" web site is www.wsj.com. Click "media and marketing”, then scroll down to the story, "Stakes are high in the era of Blockbuster Books".

I also came across this link on one of my loops: It’s an item-by-item comparison of various on-line book publishing houses. Thought I’d pass it along, too. Must be some kind of associative link there somewhere!

And on a completely different note. Ever hear of “fried coke?” Evidently, it was introduced by concessionaire Abel Gonzales Jr. at the State Fair of Texas only weeks ago and has already shown up at the North Carolina State Fair and the Arizona Exposition & State Fair. I guess it’s a donut flavored with coke syrup. Then more coke syrup is drizzled on top. Didn’t coke syrup used to be used as a cold remedy? Am I the only one completely grossed out by this?
Sunday, October 15, 2006
  Lessons from the big screen
I don't go to the movies much. My freetime is more valuable than gold and I hate to waste even a minute watching a mediocre film.

This week I got lucky and saw two great movies. Both flicks had sharp casting and as a writer, what also impressed me were the wonderful screenplays.

The first movie was the meaty The Departed, a graphic study of crime and cops in South Boston. Jack Nicholson plays a mob boss even more profane and dangerous than the Joker.
When I joined the Army that was the first time I'd ever run into someone from Boston and they were as foul-mouthed and physical as the Southie police sergeant played by Mark Wahlberg.

Later in the week I saw Little Miss Sunshine, a zany satire of modern American life. As loopy as The Departed was violent, Little Miss Sunshine provided great story-telling by Michael Arndt, who set the characters up for one humiliating emotional pratfall after another. Each new plot development skillfully provided clues about the characters. Greg Kinnear portrays a father preaching winner-take-all self-improvement babble while staving off bankruptcy. Alan Arkin snorts heroin and plays a doting grandfather to Abigail Breslin, a pudgy preadolescent girl determined to win the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pagent.

Catch these movies on the big screen.

Next week, check out my scary Halloween story at www.bookloons.com.
Friday, October 13, 2006
  Evil Clown Dolls

Hey, congrats to Jeanne for the great review from Publishers Weekly!

This month is full of events for me. I'm going to LA tomorrow, October 14, for the Latino Book & Family Festival. I'll be on a panel with fellow Simon & Schuster author Zane, the bestselling author of very steamy erotic novels, and Kathleen de Azevedo, the author of Samba Dreamers. Kathleen and I have exchanged a few emails, so it will be great to meet her in person. If you live in the LA area, drop by and say hello.

Next week, Oct. 22, I'll be at the new Borders in the fancy-schmancy Westfield San Francisco, from 3-4.

The ever wonderful Bookseller Chick will be hosting guest bloggers later in the month on the topic of all things spooky and scary. I'm finishing up my own contribution about a terrifying DOLL! Why are dolls so scary? They rank right up with clowns as minions of evil. Put them together -- a clown doll -- and you know murder and mayhem is on the way.

What kind of sick and twisted parent would ever give their child a clown doll? If you see that sort of thing happening, call Child Protective Services immediately.

Do you have a fear of clowns, dolls, or any other seemingly benign creature? Please dish.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Got back from a weekend in Chicago to find my first review for The Becoming! Publishers Weekly reviewed it and liked it! I am so thrilled!

Now it’s on to new things. Travels are over, summer is officially behind us and I’m ready to buckle down and write. I’m actually looking forward to it.

Marta mentioned she didn’t like reading her stuff to an audience because it’s first person. So is mine, but I think it adds to the fun. I love hearing that no one would have expected me to write a vampire novel or that the sex is “imaginative” or that I look more like a soccer mom than writer of genre fiction. I never quite understood that last, though. What is a vampire writer supposed to look like? Mario? That picture of him on his last blog entry is pretty provocative. I’ll have to ask him to give me a make-up lesson. Although now that I look more closely at the picture--what DOES he have on his eyes?

Anyway, the weekend in Chicago was terrific. Visited with my daughter, who actually lives in Oak Park. Right in the middle of Frank Lloyd Wright territory. Did some tours, enjoyed the changing of the leaves, and the weather was spectacular. In fact, we left the mid-70’s in Chicago and came back to the mid-30’s in Denver. Somehow, that just seemed wrong.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
  Bouncing back from BoucherCon
But first, check out this week's installment of Thriller Chiller Theater, Shirley Damsgood's story, Little Boy Lost.

I attended BoucherCon 2006. This was my first convention as a new author. This was also my first time in the MidWest (outside of Chicago). Madison is a beautiful city. Very friendly and clean (what else did I expect from these Scandinavians?), lots of great restaurants, even more booze, and plenty of wonderful company from my fellow authors. For me the high points were the HarperCollins' author party at the swanky Restaurant Magnus, the panels I was on: Mystery meets woo-woo (using fantasy) and You Knew Us When (first authors), and my author signings at the Mystery One booth.

Just so you don't get the wrong impression, we drank a lot. Thursday and Friday night we actually ran out of places to drink. These hotels had the audacity to close their bars. Anyway, I got the chance to meet those snarky bloggers at First Offenders: a classy bunch of women, Karen Olson, Alison Gaylin, and Lori Armstrong, and their adopted work-in-progress, Jeff Shelby.

I owe a debt to Richard Katz of Mystery One Bookshop. He offered to stock my book at the last minute. As expected, CrimeSpree Magazine played an important role in hosting this BoucherCon.

Karen Olson and Jeff Shelby take a break from pickling their livers. Trey Barker (right) wishes he had brought his Glock .45 to put Jeff out of his misery.

Further proof that BoucherCon is anything but a high-minded literary event. Thanks to my fellow Denver writers, Lori Lacefield and Elle LothLorien, who kept me just sober enough to avoid getting arrested.
Friday, October 06, 2006
  You Suck

A chill is in the air, a nip in the night, and Halloween in approaching. This is the holiday that Vamprowler, our regular reader, loves the best. The photo above is marvelously creepy and fun, and she's got others on her site, Memoirs of a Halloween Addict." Thanks for keeping the spirit of Halloween alive all year, Miss Prowler.

Christopher Moore's written a follow-up to his marvelous San Francisco vampire book, Bloodsucking Fiends, and it's called You Suck. Harper Collins is releasing it next year, but you can read the first chapter on his blog.

I'll be reading something (I haven't decided what yet) at LitQuake on Sunday at the Koret Auditorium in the San Francisco Library, 1:00 p.m. I'm in the "Fiction that Resonates: A Sense of Character" section -- but the thing is, when you write in first-person, everyone assumes you're writing autobiographically, which is why I dislike reading from my book.

Hello? It has vampires in it, people. My mother told me, "I thought that was funny when you killed the rats."

I said, "I have never killed a rat. I would run screaming. Milagro killed that rats."

She said, "Yes, that part."

I give up.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Congrats to Marta on her second printing—that is a very big deal.

And Mario will have his short story up soon. For all you arachnophobes out there, let me warn you it’s a creepy story. He brought it to our critique group last week and I had goose bumps all night long.

Finished revisions. At least, I think I finished. Haven’t heard back from my editor yet. Since I’m planning to spend the weekend with my daughter in Chicago, I hope she likes what I submitted. Maybe now I can do things like clean my house and do some gardening before the snow flies. I am getting antsy about starting a new book, though. Already got a first line in mind….

Got my panel assignments for MileHiCon held here in Denver Oct 27-28-29. I’m on a panel for new authors and one on monster building. I’m looking forward to my first scifi con. Now I’ll have to choose what I want to read from my book since one of the fun things is getting to read to an audience. I want to thank Fred Cleaver of the Denver Post for setting this up with Rose Beetem for me. Fred is a free lancer who writes a monthly review column on new SciFi.

I’m looking forward to hearing about this year’s Bouchercon. Any attendees out there? What did you think?
Sunday, October 01, 2006
  For your fiendish pleasure
Short post tonight. I just got back from the Bouchercon 2006 Mystery Writers Conference in beautiful Madison, WI. More on that later.

We'll get on with the subject of this blog...Halloween horror at ThrillerChiller Theatre, brought to you by the mistress of mayhem and gore, Martina Bexte, who invited Shirley Damsgaard (author of Witch Way to Murder), Anne Frasier (award winning author and USA Today Bestseller), and myself, to contribute stories of mystery, horror, and fantasy for your demented entertainment (yes!) to Hilary Williamson's website, Bookloon.com.

The first installment of ThrillerChiller comes from Martina Bexte in her story Things Are Different in the Country.

Here's the rest of the schedule, if you dare:

Little Boy Lost by Shirley Damsgaard
Wedding Night Feast by Mario Acevedo
The Replacement by Anne Frasier

Biting Edge - Blogged

Marta Acosta
Zombie Defense Tactics
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Midnight Moon Cafe
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Neil Gaiman
Laurell K. Hamilton
Charlaine Harris
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Storytellers Unplugged
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Agent Query
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Bite Me Magazine
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