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, January 30, 2007
  Media Hits

Anyone watch the Dresden Files Sunday night? After two episodes, I have mixed feelings about the show. Like the actor who plays Harry, Paul Blackthorne. Was thrown by Bob having human shape (actor Terrence Mann. I guess that’s for TV. ) Wasn’t scared by anything that happened and didn’t for a minute fear for the kid Harry had to save. No special thrills or chills in the second either. The female cop was miscast, in my humble opinion. Too much of a girly-girl. And the humor was practically non-existent. A big mistake, again imo. I’ll probably watch at least once more. For Jim Butcher, though I imagine he’s taken his money and run. I have a friend who knows him who said he commented that he spent the first week after its debut listening to the howls of protest from his fans. It’s not over yet, I fear. I noted Nicolas Cage was one of the executive producers. Let’s hope he makes a guest appearance or two.

In other news, The Denver Post had an interesting article about the Clive Cussler/ Phil Anschutz debacle set to go to trial this week. Cussler says the producers of the movie Sahara violated a deal that gave him approval rights over the film. Anschtz (and lawyers for his production company, Crusader Entertainment) counter that Cussler did not keep his promises to support the movie and instead, made negative comments to the press. I guess we could file this in the who cares department except for the obscene amount of money being spent by both sides. You’d think Cussler and Anschutz would have better things to do. It’s like elk in mating season, the clash of two giant egos that will keep butting heads until one lies bleeding in the snow.

And speaking of snow, with over a foot of the stuff on the ground, even my hike-crazy husband has decided to stay off the trails for a while. Gives us a chance to see some movies. Sunday we caught The Last King of Scotland. Dark, scary stuff as only real life can be. Forest Whitaker deserves the Oscar. The other surprise—Gillian Anderson (remember her from X-Files) looking great but so different I didn’t recognize her. She’s blonde, has long hair and is much thinner.

Interesting (?) factoid: The last time Denver got as much snow as we've gotten these past 3 weeks was in 1913.

Great. Just great. Off to Love is Murder in Chicago. It will probably be nicer there than here.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
  Oh muse, call me. Collect if you have to.
I'm deep in yet another rewrite of the draft for the third Felix Gomez novel. I like to think I'm close to finishing but everytime I go over the manuscript, it's, "What is this mess? It's not even fit to wrap fish."

I thought we writers had a muse to help us out. Mine must have been outsourced to Asia because I can't understand a thing she says.

When I think of the muse, this is what I imagine she looks like (pre-outsourcing).

Actually, this is the painting "Circe Invidiosa" by John Waterhouse. The muse gazes across her bowl of magic water and dares me not to write crap. She better have a lot of magic in that bowl. I like to think that writing is tapping into the supernatural creative spirit. Mostly though, it's more like making sausage.

If you like quirky angst about writing, check out Caitlin Kittredge's blog.

For all you creative types out there--writers, musicians, painters--how do you wrestle with the desire to make something great when your brain seems to fat finger everything?
Friday, January 26, 2007
  Bad Blood

Okay, the reviews are in for "Blood & Chocolate," which is about "Vivian, young Bucharest chocolatier by day, secret member of the loup garoux, werewolves, by night." The general consensus is that the movie sucks more than a vampire/werewolf movie is supposed to suck, but the (male) reviewers are not considering the Olivier Martinez Rule for film reviewing, i.e., any film with Olivier Martinez is worth watching, even if you have to turn off the sound. Conclusion: wait for the DVD.

Lilith Saintcrow, author of the Dante Valentine novels , has an intriguing essay about the monster in fiction and paranormal fiction over at the Midnight Hour. She says that paranormal authors "are engaged in the remaking of monsters, in a constant dialogue about what a monster means." She also discusses how monsters reflect the zeitgeist of their authors.

Bookseller Chick has a funny challenge to add "...in your pants" to book titles. Let's see, "Happy Hour...in your pants." "The Nymphos of Rocky Flats...in your pants." "The Becoming...in your pants." Other paranormals that do well...in your pants? How about:

The Dark Tower...in your pants
A Hunger Like No Other...in your pants
Dark Fever...in your pants
I am Legend...in your pants

Okay, I find this altogether too amusing. I'll be spending the weekend reading the proofs for Midnight Brunch, the sequel to Happy Hour at Casa Dracula. This means that I'll be fixating on commas and grammar, and flashing back to grade school under the strict rule of Sister Angela. Oh, la, for the days when I could diagram a sentence with absolute certainty... Those brain cells are gone, baby, gone.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
  An Unacceptable Death

Barbara Seranella
In memoriam

Barbara Seranella
Born April 30, 1956
Died January 21, 2007

Barbara Seranella, 50, bestselling mystery author and resident of Laguna Beach and PGA West in La Quinta, died peacefully on January 21, 2007, at 4:15 p.m. EST (1:15 p.m. PST) at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, with her husband Ron Seranella and her brother Dr. Larry Shore at her side. Barbara, who died of end-stage liver disease while awaiting a liver transplant, leaves behind her husband Ron, brothers Larry Shore of San Francisco and David Shore of Woodacre, parents Nate and Margie Shore of La Quinta, and stepdaughters Carrie Seranella and Shannon Howard.

Private funeral arrangements are being made by the family. A celebration of Barbara's life is being planned for February; details will be announced later.

For information, please contact Debbie Mitsch, Barbara's publicist, at martinandmitsch@aol.com or (714) 743-6127.

This was what I awoke to this morning. And it has cast a shadow over the entire day. Barbara was a friend. She used to stay with my husband and I when her travels took her through Denver. She was the first author I knew who made it a point to hit every bookstore in a fifty-mile radius when she was in town. She would introduce herself to the CRM and in a matter of minutes, had a new friend and fan. If you knew her at all, you knew Munch Mancini’s life was her own. She overcame incredible odds, battling a troubled childhood, drug addiction and alcoholism. We would sit on our deck and she’d spin tales about her past that were even wilder than her character’s. She was a fighter. She was a mentor. When my book was published by ImaJinn, Barbara was the first to put a review on Amazon, she was right there at my first signing in San Diego. This picture was taken that day. It sits on my writing desk and when she underwent her first transplant, I sent her a copy. Her Christmas greeting this year was a poem. A song of hope, of confidence in the future. It was typical Barbara. Her last book was entitled, An Unacceptable Death. It sums up the way I feel. Barbara always came back. I guess I just figured this time would be no different.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
  How those aliens get here
When I have trouble sleeping at night, I listen to this program on the very early morning AM radio: Coast to Coast With George Noory. The program is a gold mine of conspiracy theories, psychic power anecdotes (remote viewing is a favorite), and of course, UFOs.

This "UFO" was photographed by Air Force Col. Brian Fields near Van Buren, Arkansas, this last February 9. Supposedly, if you squint hard, you can make out the alien pilot. I couldn't, then again my eyes aren't what they used to be.

I'll let you in on a secret: aliens and UFOs figure in my stories. Not all of them. I want to believe in extraterrestrial life. I can't imagine that in all this SPACE, it's just us and the politicians.

Even though they're campy and often disappointing, I love to watch movies about UFOs. One of my favorites was the late 60s show, The Invaders. I even owned a model of this cool UFO but it succumbed, as do most models owned by adolescent boys, to Black Cat firecrackers.

On a side note, the Felix Gomez sequel, X-RATED BLOODSUCKERS, is a starred review in Publishers Weekly.

What would your UFO look like?
Friday, January 19, 2007
  Blood & Chocolate
I went to NYT bestselling author Christopher Moore's book event in Berkeley last night. It was the first time I've seeen him speak publicly and it was SRO with fans clutching copies of his new vampire comedy, You Suck. Chris was all kinds of funny, riffing on everything from having his chest hair shaved off in patches to Janet Maslin's ambiguous review of the book in the NYT. If you have a chance to see him talk, GO.

Vampires are still all the rage. Will Smith's people, and when you're that successful you have your own "people," have announced that he'll star in the vamp thriller, I am Legend. The movie is based on the novel by scary writer Richard Matheson. It's about "a mutant virus gone wrong." Those darn mutant viruses! Speaking of which, some nutjob scientist has reconstituted the virus for the 1918 flu. He tested it on monkeys and then had to kill the monkeys after a few days because they were so sick. The mad scientist had some convoluted justification for re-creating the death virus; if it somehow gets out, no magical character will come save us.

I thought Blood & Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause, was a killer title for a book, and then, duh, I remembered: Elvis Costello used it first. When struggling for a title, I go to Costello, too. The movie based on this well-received teen vamp book is coming out next week.

So, does the interest in vampires reflect our zeitgeist, and, if so, what does it mean? The wish to encounter and yet survive a deadly force? Or maybe just a fascination with glamorous and dangerous Eurotrash types.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
  Covers, Covers, Everywhere....
I just got the cover art for my second book, BLOOD DRIVE, and the character on it has long, blonde flowing hair. It's a beautiful cover, really. The only problem is I mention in every book that my character has SHORT hair. Since the book is due out in July, I figured I had to swallow my objections. But even my agent jumped in and said the long hair has to go. So, back to the artist it went and I am now awaiting whatever changes may be made.

On a happier front, also got the cover for the anthology I’m in, MANY BLOODY RETURNS. As you can see, my name is right there. “Others” include me, Bill Crider, Tanya Huff, Rachel Caine, Elaine VIets, Christopher Golden, Carolyn Haines, Lynda Morehouse and Toni L.P. Kelner. So as “others” go, I’m in damned fine company! Anyway, love the cover.

It was also mentioned that several of the authors are planning to attend World Fantasy Con and an event may be planned around the launch. I’m really tempted to attend. It would be fun to hang out with the big boys. Anyone attended a WFC? Is it as crazy as I’ve heard?

Mario mentioned the passing of Yvonne DeCarlo. I, too, was saddened by the news. She was a truly beautiful woman which sometimes gets lost in the image of Lily.

And on another Mario note, his second book, X-Rated Blood Suckers, just got a great review from PW—

"Hard-boiled action mixes with soft-core titillation in Acevedo's
second novel featuring solder-turned-vampire PI Felix Gomez....
The novel's true appeal lies in its zippy banter and witty repartee
on vampire lifestyle, particularly in Felix's ongoing partnership with
Cayote, a low-life vampire from the barrio. Acevedo has a natural
flair for the hard-boiled idiom, and readers who enjoyed Felix's
first adventure will find this follow-up equally entertaining."

Soft-core titillation—does that not describe the Mario we know and love to a “t”?
Sunday, January 14, 2007
  So long, Lily

For all of us fans of horror camp, this last week brought sad news with the death of Vyonne DeCarlo a.k.a. Lily Munster. Her passing caused me to muse on the early "horror" shows of TV.

Besides the Munsters we had The Addams Family, a little more twisted venue. How could we forget the late Carolyn Jones as Morticia?

While these two shows gave us the undead with a funny bone, there was one show that adhered to the horror canon. Does anyone remember Dark Shadows? Interesting concept, a soap opera with vampires. I remember the girls were crazy about the show. I found it too slow. I wanted blood and gore dammit and in the pre-cable days, Dark Shadows was as macabre as you could get on daytime TV.

Years later, Cassandra Peterson, as Elvira Mistress of the Dark, brought back some of the campy vamp, emphasizing of course, a plunging neckline. But who am I to carp about fashion trends?

More recently, we had the wildly popular Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. Still, I'll miss Lily Munster. What about you?
Friday, January 12, 2007
  Release of You Suck: A Love Story

One of my favorite writers, NY Times bestseller Christopher Moore, is launching his new novel, You Suck: A Love Story next week and kicking off a tour. There's a nice interview with him here, and if you want to see him speak, check out his tour schedule here. This sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends also takes place in San Francisco and features a vampire Jody and her 19-year-old Safeway clerk paramour, Tommy. I'll be taking my copy of this book to be signed when Moore comes to Berkeley next week.

If you're mid-century bungalow isn't inspiring you to write fantastically dark vampire novels, you might consider buying the castle that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler. The downside: the cost is estimated to be $75 million. The upside: Vlad's torture chambers can be easily converted to a gym, home theater, and wine cellar.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
  Holy Moley!
Just got back from four days in LA where the weather was 80-85 and beautiful. The first thing I hear is that we're due for ANOTHER blizzard on Thursday. Holy friggin' crap! What's going on? We've already had more snow in the last three weeks than we've had the last three winters. Jeff Shelby...you knew this was coming, didn't you?

Anyway, the trip was terrific. Met a lot of wonderful people including the owners of Mystery & Imagination, where I signed, and Dark Delicacies, where I was invited to attend a horror writers meeting and was so impressed, I joined the organization. My thanks to Christine and Malcom of Mystery & Imagination and Sue and Del of Dark Delicacies.

Also hit every B&N and Borders in Pasadena, Glendale and Burbank thanks to my sis-in-law who turns out to be a damned good author guide. I wish I could hire her full time.

Okay, I'm beat. I'm going to try to run around and get things done so I won't have to during the blizzard. I promise more next time. Had some interesting experiences which I want to share, but my brain is still fryed...er...freid...er...FRIED.

You get the idea.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
  Fight Global Prohibition

In this Global War On Terror against Islamofacism, do your bit and fight back...with a good cocktail. Check out this testament to Western civilization, Modern Drunkard Magazine.

I've put on my combat boots, hoisted a martini, and contributed to the fight by penning an article of own, Boozing in the Barrio. The article just came out in the 2006 December issue (don't let a deadline interfere with Happy Hour) and hasn't been posted on line yet. But you can get a good idea of the magazine by checking out this article about drinking on Star Trek: Space, The Wino Frontier.

I'm "researching" an article about the drinking culture of the undead. Any of you with firsthand knowledge, please share.

One of my favorite authors, Carl Hiaasen, has a new book out.

There's a wonderful review with Hiaasen in this month's Mystery Scene magazine. In it, Hiaasen reveals the big secret of us novelists. Despite any measure of success, dumptrucks of money for example (or in my case, a matchbox full of change), he says "The worst writers are the lazy ones, the self-congratulatory one. All the good writers I know are nervous wrecks."

I'll drink to that.
Friday, January 05, 2007
  Biting Cold

If you're feeling vampy, our good friend, Vamprowler has updated her blog with lots of new vampire links. My favorite is the Federal Vampire & Zombie Agency, which I'm guessing has something to do with collecting back taxes from the undead.

I was thrilled to get the news that Catalina Magazine's Book Club has named Happy Hour at Casa Dracula their top humor novel by a Latina for 2006. They called the novel "hilarious and over the top."

Just picked up a copy of The Terror by Dan Simmons for a friend. It wasn't even on the shelves yet at the bookstore. I'm wondering if I can read it very, very carefully (maybe wearing gloves to avoid fingerprints) before I give it to him in two days. It's about the Artic, ships wrecked looking for the Northern Passage, and a ZOMBIE. What is not to like?
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
  Oh the weather outside is frightful.....
I love the beginning of the year. It’s a clean slate, a chance to clear the decks and
start fresh. So while I was housebound during this last horrible spate of blizzards here in Denver, I did just that. My writing desk is clear, my house is clean, my laundry is almost caught up. My 2006 expense log is complete, I’ve made air and hotel reservations for upcoming signing trips. The husband is back at work and after I finish this last chore, the week’s blog entry, I may actually get to write the next Anna Strong chronicle. Oh, happy day!

This Friday I leave for Southern California. I’m signing at a bookstore in Glendale called Mystery & Imagination with fellow author John Ringo. I’m reading the first in his Dragon series, THERE WILL BE DRAGONS, and really enjoying it. He actually has several series going and is a NY Times Best Selling Author. Maybe some of his success will rub off on me. I plan to listen very closely to everything he says.

Anyway, hope you all enjoyed the holidays. Did you make any resolutions? I don’t do that anymore. I put enough pressure on myself without writing “Things I Must Do in the New Year” and posting it. The lists used to become more grim indictments of things I didn’t get done than incentive to actually accomplish anything. Now I just greet each new year with hope that it will be better than the one before. And truth be told, 2006 was a darned good year.

So I’m pretty optimistic.
Monday, January 01, 2007
  Happy New Year...and order this book

Hey Everybody,

Here we go with another one. Welcome 2007!

To start this new year I've got a special treat. One of the perks (or curses depending on your deadlines) of being a published author is that people start assuming you've got some kind of writing mo-jo and send you manuscripts or ARCs to get blurbed. John Scognamiglio, Editor in Chief at Kensington Publishing, sent me this wonderful manuscript, SUCCUBUS BLUES by Richelle Mead, and I loved the story. I had to share.

Below is the Q&A Richelle was gracious enough to complete.

Check out her websites:
Official Site - www.richellemead.com
Blogging Action - www.richellemead.com/blog/
Succubus Blogging Action - magicalminxes.blogspot.com

Best wishes to everyone.


How has your master's in Comparative Religion played into writing this?

Very little, actually. I did my thesis on “heretical Christianity as practiced by barbarians in the late Roman Empire.” So, um, yeah. Most of the info for Succubus Blues has just come from years of reading mythology. I've loved it ever since I was little and actually didn't have to do much research at all for this book. I already had succubus info embedded in my brain. And if I ever decide to write Barbarian Blues, I'm golden.

You've made the protagonist from a succubus, a lesser known supernatural character. What drew you to that as opposed to a more traditional creature such as a vampire?

I wanted to do something different, plain and simple, especially since this genre is growing so fast! I really liked the idea of sympathetically writing about a woman whose life is devoted to having sex and corrupting souls. (No jokes about how that's how all women are, please!). I also wanted it to be funny, so mixing all of those components proved pretty challenging at first. I think (hope) it's all worked out.

You're a very polished writer. How did you learn to write? Did you have a mentor or belong to a writing group? What is your daily (or weekly) process now that you write fulltime?

I've been writing all my life, starting with my own homemade picture books in elementary school. In college, I took a lot of humanities classes but few writing ones, and I honestly think I learned the most just by reading other books. When you read good writing, you learn good writing. So nope, no mentors or writing groups. Just me. Unless you count Marion Zimmer Bradley and Neil Gaiman as mentors.

As for my daily process, it varies wildly. When I'm writing a first draft, I usually do three 3-hour sessions of straight writing, broken up with meals and gym trips. When I'm just revising, my schedule goes to hell, and I tend to spend more time than I should browsing blogs and answering e-mail.

How I got published story…

In 2004, I went to a writers conference trying to pitch an 800 page sci-fi epic. I quickly learned a first time writer can't get away with anything that massive, so I went home and conceived the succubus idea a week later. I outlined every detail and told my husband, “This'll be the one that gets published.” I finished it in six weeks later and let it cool off for a few months. I then queried about ten agencies and signed with the one I'm with now.

The sale itself also moved pretty fast. We got a 3-book pre-empt offer from Kensington about a week after it went on submission, and we accepted that day. I feel extremely lucky to have had things turn out so well.

Where do you see your writing career in five years? Ten?

I've since sold two other series, one of which won't come out until the end of 2008. So, actually, it'd be exciting in five years just to start seeing all these books in print! But seriously, I hope by that time I can be a name in this genre. Like all other writers, I harbor dreams of bestseller status and fans asking me to sign their chests. But even if I'm not a member of JK Rowling's country club, I'd still be extremely happy knowing I have a consistent group of readers waiting impatiently for my next book. And, yeah, who maybe want me to sign their chests too.

In ten years, I'd like more of the same and hopefully another series or two out, but that answer may be subject to change since deadlines for my current three are starting to catch up with me.

What's next for Georgina?

I can't say too much since her first book isn't even out, alas. But she's got at least two more books coming and hopefully a lot more. The most I'll say are that her blues are far from being over, and she has a lot more romantic and supernatural hijinks to come.

SUCCUBUS BLUES, Available March 2007 from Kensington Books

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