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!
Loved Mario's post though I have to say Sarah from T2 is one of my all time favorites. Ripley was good, but Sarah rocked! She gets my vote for #1. In fact T2 is one of the movies I own and watch when I want to get my bad on.
Speaking of badasses-- did anyone catch last night's premier of BLADE, the series
? The reviews were uniformly lousy, but I guess I have a soft spot for big muscles. And the series star is one Sticky Fingaz (no joke--he's a rapper) who has BIG muscles. Plus he rides a Harley. I also like the co-star, Jill Wagner, who reminds me a lot of the actress who plays Kate on LOST. Here's what the reviewers had to say
Congrats to Marta on the BookSense pick--that's a very big deal. And for her wonderful reviews. I plan to pick up Casa Dracula this weekend myself. I encourage all to do the same.
So the bad ass thing got me thinking about who (or what) I use for inspiration when writing my character. Buffy, of course, for her human strength and courage. The vamp characteristics I pretty much make up as I go along (I am writing fiction, after all). But I realize now there's a little Sarah in the mix, too. Her need to protect humanity from the apocalypse and her willingness to sacrifice herself for the greater good. Come to think of it, I wonder if Joss Whedon didn't have her in the back of his mind, too,
Food for thought.
My sons and I play this game: who is the baddest bad ass of all? It started when we watched James Bond. The argument was, who would win: James Bond or Indiana Jones?
After hours of discussion (a very guy thing), we decided on James Bond. He’s just more ruthless than Indiana. Okay, then who else?
Among the nominees:
Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis from Last of the Mohicans
, not that wimp from MASH
Kirk Douglas as Spartacus
If done with the proper reverence (and enough beer), this discussion can take on a profound, philosophical dimension. And the debate leads to interesting tangents. Why not Magneto playing the lead in Sleepless in Seattle?
Wolverine in The Ten Commandments.
Shaft in Lord of the Rings.
So who is our champion bad ass?
He doesn’t have superpowers, true. But he is crafty and dark enough to do anything to win.
What about the women? No contest here.
Ripley from Aliens.
So who is your nominee for supreme Bad Ass?
Casa Dracula Now in Bookstores!
I was getting all worked up about the July release date for my novel, Happy Hour at Casa Dracula
, and I found out yesterday that chain bookstores had jumped the gun and already stocked the book.
I got great news this week: BookSense
, the organization of independent booksellers, will list my novel as one of their recommended reads for August. We at Biting Edge love the indies, so help support them by visiting their stores or buying from their online sites. Go to BookSense to find an indie near you. Remember, it's the indies who keep the weirdness alive.
On the vampire/supernatural front, I saw an episode of "The 4400"
which featured a guy who could shapeshift into anyone. The very predictable culmination of this show is a guy shooting at himself. Gee, didn't we just see this on "Supernatural"?
The best and funniest version of this theme was on "The X-Files"
where women swore that Luke Skywalker was showing up at their apartments and having sex with them.
Sigh, I MISS those great "X-Files" episodes, even if the show did devolve into serious nonsense.
The Writer's Life
Just came back from mailing the galley for The Becoming. I was very impressed with the thorough job done by both my editor and copy editor. They picked up on things I hadn't, even after reading the book about a thousand times. The comments were thoughtful and most involved expanding descriptions and clarifying some point or another. One particularly good catch was that if one of my characters played for the Raiders when they were Super Bowl winners, the way I said, he'd be in his fifties now! Shows how long ago I wrote the original of this story. So I did what any red blooded Denverite would do, made him a Bronco. That cut a few years off him!
Mario asked a very good question in his last post. What attracts me to the paranormal? Vampires. Immortality has been the secret longing of humans since the beginning. Even some early expeditions were motivated by a search for the fountain of youth. Vampires were a target of the crusades, the subject of speculation since scribes began recording words, feared and hunted throughout history. And their allure is as compelling now as ever. Vampires are powerful and sexy. The combination of blood and sex is the ultimate sexual experience.
In Anna Strong's world, my protagonist is a vampire still clinging to what makes her human. I've tried to blend elements of the traditional mystery story with the fantasy world of vampires. I've tweaked the legend to fit my ideal--a contemporary world in which vampires walk among us, not necessarily as hunters, but as a species trying to survive.
In case it's not clear, I wouldn't want to write anything else....
Let us scare you
I returned yesterday from a spectacular week in the East Coast. I went to the Bram Stoker convention sponsored by the Horror Writers Association and arrived a day early to meet with my agent and editors. They treated me to lunch, a cocktail party, and dinner. I felt so special and not in a little school bus kind of way.
This was my first visit to a genre convention. Last year the Bram Stoker convention was held in Los Angeles. Next year, it'll be in Toronto. But this year it was in the Newark Airport Hilton in Elizabeth, NJ, not exactly the garden spot of the Garden State. The hotel was surrounded by a Budweiser bottling plant, a car lot, a decrepit bakery, and a cemetery. If you like broken windows and grime, this is the zip code for you.
The big draws of the convention were the Bram Stoker awards, the people, and the numerous open bars. By Saturday night my liver was crying uncle.
I met David Morrell of Rambo, First Blood
fame, and Tom Monteleone, notable horror writer and novelist. Tom also wrote The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a Novel,
a great resource analyzing the nuts and bolts of writing a genre novel. Most of his advice will be heresy to you literary scribblers.
David won a Bram Stoker for his new novel, Creepers. The Bram Stoker award is a cool statue of a two-story haunted house, or as the wags call it: the Duplex of the Damned.
Tom gave a wonderful impromptu (or so he said) speech about what drew him to the horror genre. It started, as most things do, when he was a child. Tom found a horror comic book depicting gruesome mutilations, the dead rising from the grave, and the torturing of the innocent. He had never seen such repugnant, ghastly doings--and he loved it.
So what attracts you to the world of monsters and the undead?
The Horror! The Horror!
Since I try to keep up on all things vampirey, I forced myself to watch about ten minutes of "Once Bitten,"
starring a very young Jim Carey. Carey is the teenage victim of Lauren Hutton, an aging vamp who needs a virgin in order to stay young looking.
This movie is Bad. Really bad. Embarassingly bad. It's so bad that when you watch the '80s dance fight sequence, you cringe and feel shame for the entire human race. I had to avert my eyes as Carey is dance-fought over by Hutton and his teen-girlfriend. The dancing scene contains every bad '80s dance move
ever gyrated. It is, in all honesty, one of the most horrifying things I have ever seen.
Oh, and the script analysis described this movie as, "It is funny, but with a few minor changes, it could be visually and intellectually serious enough to rival Satiricon or Coppola's Rumblefish." Yeah, right.
Book News: Simon & Schuster is printing up 5,000 postcards for my novel, and Cody's Bookstore
just put Happy Hour at Casa Dracula
on their recommended summer reading list.
This will be a very quick post-- Got the galley for THE BECOMING, which I did not expect for another couple of weeks and it's due back on June 26-- I'm trying to finish the first draft of the third book, WATCHER, before June 30, and to complicate matters, I'm going to Florida for four days to attend a friend's wedding. This long, relaxing weekend I had planned is turning into a working vacation.
Anyway, Marta's post last week mentioned mixed race babies. And she said the series Angel had a mixed race baby. At first, I thought she was referring to Connor, who as all good Buffy fans know, was NOT a mixed race baby, but the son of two vampires--Angel and Darla. Then I realized she meant Jasmine, Cordelia's daughter, played by the gorgeous Gina Torres (the picture was my first clue. I'm kind of slow on the uptake.) Okay, that was a weird one. But I love all things Buffy and I gave Joss Whedon a pass on THAT storyline.
Haven't see The 4400-- might give it a shot. I'm sure Mario is wowing them at the Horror Writer's Conference. He does know how to work a crowd.
See you next week--
Vampiros, Chupacabras, El Cucui, oh my!
This weekend I'm attending the Bram Stoker Conference sponsored by the Horror Writers of America. As my book is about a Latino vampire, now I'm the "expert" on all things supernatural and Latino. I have been asked to participate on a panel about horror creatures from around the world, and of course, I'll be speaking about our undead neighbors from south of the border.
First, let's clear up some misconceptions. That the typical Mexican vampire wears a tux, has slicked back jet-black hair, and knows more salsa moves than Paste Picante. Actually, most vampiros have never worn a tux (even to weddings), tend to be balding, and only dance polka--when they're drunk.
El Cucui is the mestizo cousin of the common bogeyman. El Cucui is used to threaten little kids as in, behave or El Cucui will get you. That's nonsense, of course. El Cucui isn't crazy about kids at all. He's too much of a neat-freak. What El Cucui loves to do is screw with your budget. You ever open your Visa bill and go, "Holy Cow. I owe how much?" Blame El Cucui.
Chupacabra, is the goat-blood sucker. I know a chupacabra but I'm mad at her so the less I say the better.
La Llorona. Supposedly she drowned her kids and is damned for it. She haunts rivers and canals, crying out, "Where are my children? Where are my children?" She tries to trick you into the water and drown you, hoping to trade your soul for one of her babies'. Llorona honey, that crying bit is so nineteenth century. You want to entice men into the water, I got six words: hot bod in a string bikini.
The Sci-Fi channel had a "The 4400"
festival with lots of episodes running. The premise is: what happens when those people abducted from cornfields all return with special abilities to use parts of their brains that aren't usually used?
Attractive cast and interesting story about the government treating the returnees like enemy combatants. The story line completely ignores the point that most people would be happy using 0% of their brain.
This is another show that features a mixed race baby who miraculously becomes a gorgeous woman walking around bare ass nekkid. It's deja vu all over again, because "Angel" also had a mixed race baby, etc.
This show has lots of possibilities and I hope we'll see ZOMBIES featured somewhere.
Onto book stuff, here are a few things I've learned since I've gotten my book deal:
-The author does not get final approval on the cover, no matter what Carrie Bradshaw says on "Sex in the City."
-The author does not get final approval on the title, although the author can whinge and advise.
-The back cover copy can inaccurately reflect the plot of the book if it's too difficult to explain the plot succinctly.
-Authors routinely post five-star reviews of their own books on Amazon under false names. If a "reviewer" only has one review to his/her name and the "review" says, "I couldn't put it down!" then it's a fake review.
-Bestsellers are not books that sell the most copies. They are books that sell the most at selected bookstores within a certain area over a limited time.
-Publishers never expect to recoup the costs of some of their hugest advances. The advances are considered advertising. Does anyone seriously believe that Alan Greenspan's book is going to earn back his $8.5 million advance? Pulleeze.
To read about book covers, check out Agent Kristin's blog
Well, 6/6/06 has come and gone and we're all still here. In fact, the only thing the least untoward that happened was that the Blogger Dashboard (where we input our posts) was down for service. Oh, and Yahoo completely re-formatted their group e-mails and didn't tell anyone so for two days we all got blank posts. It would be nice if they gave us some ADVANCE warning.
Anyway, news from friends: Jeff Shelby's book KILLER SWELL has just been released in paperback. If you missed it in HB, get out to a bookstore near you and pick it up now.
Fellow blogger Mario just got the cover for his second book, X-RATED BLOODSUCKERS. It looks terrific (why do I like everyone else's covers?) I'm sure he'll post it.
Marta is counting down to the pub date. That is such an exciting time and I wish her all good things!!
I'm deep in writing mode. My third book is due to the publisher on Aug 1. I plan to finish the first draft by the end of this month to allow my critique partners time to whip it into shape. They really are the ones who take a story and turn it into a book.
It's hot here in Denver-- REALLY hot. A string of 90 + days and it isn't even officially summer yet. Fries my brain and turns my typing fingers to mush. So excuse any typos. I'm headed off for a cool drink and my lap top. Time to get back to work.....
I went to an art show and saw a drawing titled, "Werewolf Accountant." Mr. Werewolf had a furry face, fangs, and wore a loosened necktie and a rumpled shirt with a pocket stuffed with pens and pencils. He looked wasted from crunching numbers. His expression: "My day job sucks."
We don't imagine superheroes or supernatural creatures as having day jobs. But if they live among us, how do they pay their bills? I can see a vampire using his mojo to score a place to crash. The flip side is that suppose he does shack up with a sugar mamma, then our feared vampire comes off looking like a mooching gigolo.
Batman sidesteps the question by being the alter ego of Bruce Wayne, billionaire. That's a day job I could handle. Billionaire. Any offers?
The new Batwoman is also rich. And she's a lesbian which conjures interesting visuals when she talks about, "strapping on the utility belt."
Superman works as Clark Kent, reporter for the Daily Planet. But that's not a real "day job." Clark Kent can leave work whenever he wants and he never frets over a measly cost-of-living raise.
I prefer to think that modern supernaturals take on day jobs more to keep busy and blend in with human society. These vampires or werewolves could use the pocket change but really, what's to keep them from skipping out from under a mortgage? "I'm an undead immortal, what the hell do I care about a bad credit rating."
So unlike vampires or Batman, I have to punch the clock at a day job. That is, until I become immortal, or a billionaire. Whichever comes first.
The July 4 release date for my novel, Happy Hour at Casa Dracula, is quickly approaching. I'll be having my book launch at Cody's Bookstore
in Berkeley on July 7, and I was happy to hear the Cody's publicist say, "The days of authors reading from their books is long gone." There will be champagne and hors d'oeuvres, so it will be a party.
Congrats to Mario on getting a second press run!
Onto spooky stuff: I've been seeing ads for the remake of "The Omen"
on television. I'm like, okay, so does this movie mean that only one kid is the spawn of the devil? Obviously the film producers and director never had to take care of actual children, who can be pretty evil without being possessed.
I will admit, however, that a kid with a bowl haircut
in the year 2006 is particularly horrifying.