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!
Wednesday Morning Blahs
Today is a day when I’d probably be better off not blogging, but hey, it’s Wednesday and that means it’s my day and I don’t want to let the team down.
First, though, Mario’s
book is on the shelf—not only on the shelf, but prominently displayed. So let’s all get out to our favorite Indie or Chain and pick up a copy (or two or three) of X-Rated Bloodsuckers. It’s a terrific read by a really terrific guy.
And as Mario noted, he and I did our first joint presentation to the Pikes Peak Romance Writers group
on Sunday. I, of course, was nervous because not only was it my first “guest appearance” in front of a writers group, but it was the first time Mario and I attempted the Plot on the Spot. Due in no small detail to the fabulous group in attendance, not only was it a success, but I think everyone came away with some small nugget she could apply to her own writing. Even Mario and I. Our focus was on cross-genre characterization. The characters and plot of Piecing It Together combined elements of mystery, thriller, fantasy and romance. A good time was had by all. (By the way, we’re also available to perform at weddings, wakes, bar mitzvahs…you get the idea.)
Our pal, Vamprowler
, is not only a musician and a writer, but also makes jewelry. She was kind enough to send Marta and me earrings and Mario a pendant with an alien motif. I wore my earrings, long silver filigree and green beads with a tasteful (no kidding, people didn’t even recognize that it was a face) alien face on the end, to the program on Sunday and they got noticed. Thank you, friend, they really are lovely. Let us know when you plan to go into business and we’ll plug you right here!
So that’s it for today. It’s time to gear up for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Writing
contest. I’m co-chair for the second year with Susan Mackay Smith and we’re getting together for our first organizational meeting today. Well, that’s assuming the 1 -3” of snow predicted to dump either fails to materialize or blows off on some other poor sucker. So for you pre-pub writers out there, check out the RMFW website (click on the contest tab) and polish up that entry!
Well, almost. I found out the release date for X-RATED BLOODSUCKERS
is this Tuesday. So run, fly, teleport to your local independent
or get your butt online and support this grateful novelist. Jeanne Stein
and I went to Colorado Springs Sunday to give a workshop to the Pikes Peak chapter of the Romance Writers of America
. Our topic was creating characters for multi-genre novels. We led the group through an exercise where we plotted a fantasy romance. Dr. Mary Shelly Hildebrandt, plastic surgeon,and love interest to her ex Frank N Stein, organ harvester, is the target of the villainous Bartok, who steals human parts to reanimate a lost love whose mind is stored in a memory device. Whew! The title, Piecing It Together. Now if that isn't a bestseller, what is?
We had a blast. How could we not with this brainy and engaging group? Special kudos to our hosts, the smart and funny Jodi Beyes and Chrystina Martinez.
And check out Marta's awesome cover for MIDNIGHT BRUNCH
Vamps on Film
Cover: Here's the cover for my next novel, Midnight Brunch
. It looks even better in real life, and I've got a box of the glossy galleys by me right now.
Vamps in the Media: Charlie Huston must be pretty happy. His novel, Already Dead, is in development for a feature film
The Year of the Cannibal Zombie (TM): I knew this year would be a good one for zombies. I'm still trying to figure out how to include zombies in my romantic comedy stories, but the creators of Night of the Living Dorks
have already accomplished this. When zombies party, they party hard.
Why isn't this book available in the U.S.? Rhys Wilcox's novel, Blood Lust, has gotten great reviews
and has a funny, creepy cover. You can order it on Amazon.co.uk
. Wilcox gives himself a rave review and makes his novel sound like something Mario would especially enjoy.
Q: How can you fight against an army of super-strength, immortal beings with no morals and no compunction about ripping your head off and sucking on the open wound?
A: High calibre, automatic weapons.
It must be Wednesday...
I must be getting (getting, ha!) old. I can’t remember if it was our good buddy
vamprowler, aspiringwriter or a buffybud that sent me this link
. My apologies. But it is a good one so check it out. (Whoops, sorry. Checked it out on Thursday and it had been removed-- Don't know how these things work.)
And this was sent to me from my webmaster extrodinaire and all around good guy, Jay Salam
, about a new show
starting in March called Blood Ties that’s right up my alley. Based on Tanya Huff’s
Thank you, Mario, for mentioning the bestseller thing. It came out in the newest issue of LOCUS
magazine and evidently for December, The Becoming was Barnes & Noble’s #10 ranked paperback bestseller in the genre. My editor, Jessica Wade, told me about it two weeks ago, but I didn’t want to believe it until I actually saw it in print. It was pretty damned exciting.
And speaking of Mario, I had the honor of reading his third Felix novel, Kama Sutra for the Undead. It’s the best ever. My favorite character in his series, Carmen, has a major role in this one. Felix fans will love it!
And Marta, congrats on the new contract. That’s very good news.
And one little tidbit.
From book shop owner Diane Capriola on the controversy over the word “scrotum” in the children’s book “The Higher Power of Lucky.” Published in today’s Shelf Awareness.
As my litmus test, I asked my two boys, ages 11 and 8, what their thoughts were on this controversy. My 8 year old laughed loudly and immediately walked off to create a cartoon about the controversy. My 11 year old, always willing to consider both sides, read the first page of the book. He came back to me, nonplussed about seeing the word scrotum in print, but wondering why adults were not concerned that the narrator of the dog's unfortunate story was so drunk that he could not stand up when the dog was bitten.
Can you believe it? If the author had said the dog was bitten in the balls, that would have been better? And the fact that the narrator was drunk gets a pass?I don’t get it.
Finally finished (I think) edits for the third book, Watcher, proofed galleys for Blood Drive and The Witch and the Wicked, my story in Many Bloody Returns. Now maybe, I can get back to working on something new. Anna is getting antsy.
Happy Presidents' Day
First off. Kudos to fellow Biters, Jeanne
--for her NATIONAL best seller status, and Marta
--for getting a contract for book three.
I need to mention our faithful blog poster, Vamprowler
. Did you know she sings? Check out the pics at Andrea and the Armenian Rug Riders
. Vamprowler has two blogs, vampire
, and she's launching a business into all things cheesy and alien. A woman after our wierd and wacky hearts.
We writers get props from unexpected places and Marshal Zeringue points his literary finger at us. His blog Campaign for the American Reader
has a series highlighting what authors are reading and here is my entry
If I'm moving a little slow this morning, I need to blame that ole' debil, King Alcohol. Last night I went to a bourbon tasting.
Free pizza and bourbon. Two dollar PBRs. The bourbon tasting was a great idea. We did all the fancy, schmancy stuff wine snobs do, check the color and clarity, sniff the bouquet (admittedly, the booze smelled heavenly), then the taste test. The bourbon hit my tongue and suddenly I was back in high school and barfing out the window of my friend's Dodge Barracuda. I stuck to the PBR and since the pizza was free, a little more beer, a little more pizza, a little more beer. Fortunately I walked to the saloon so other than crash into a couple of chain link fences and and getting a little lost (How hard were the directions home? Two blocks south and take a left.) I made it. Just in time to post my blog. Cheers!
Our New Books - She-Vampire of Tempe - Bottomfeeder
The Good News: Simon & Schuster
has bought a third novel in the Casa Dracula
series. I’m delighted. I also received beautiful glossy galleys for my second novel, Midnight Brunch
, so I’m a happy camper.Countdown to the Release of X-Rated Bloodsuckers:
It’s only 11 days to the official release of Mario’s second novel, and the reviews are great. The Barnes & Noble review says: “For fans of genre-blending sagas -- like Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, Charlie Huston's Joe Pitt novels, and Simon R. Green's Nightside sequence -- who enjoy the mélange of mystery and fantasy, Acevedo's novels are an absolute must-read. Equal parts Raymond Chandler, Anne Rice, and Hugh Hefner, these laugh-out-loud-funny, darkly absurdist, and downright addictive novels will makes a fan out of anyone who reads them.”Don’t Complain About Your Crummy Valentine's Day:
In Tempe, AZ, a man showed up for a date of kinky sex. He wanted kinky and he got kinky – the so-called Valentine She-Vampire
, Tiffany Sutton, tied up her date, cut him with a knife, and then drank his blood. No word yet whether she was a member of the space program
working on a movie deal.
[Photo]Another Funny Vampire Writer:
Over at Skullring
, Matt Stagg interviews Bob Fingerman
, the author of the darkly comic Bottomfeeder
. Booklist says the book is written in “a punchy, up-to-the-minute urban vernacular that, while it brims with abusive humor, squelches romanticism, provokes other-than-sexual interpretations of vampirism, and helps propel Bottomfeeder to the front ranks of its genre.” I’m adding this to my to-buy list.
More Media Hits
But first-- if you missed Mario's post from Monday, stop right now and scroll down to read it. He expresses what most of us felt when we heard that story (besides, of course the first "what the fuck?" exclamation that escaped the country's collective lips.) Don't mean to offend anyone, but it's the truth, isn't it?
Okay--onward and upward.
"I love writing books. Movies are a collaborative medium, and everyone is second-guessing you. When you do a novel you're on your own. It's a freedom that doesn't exist in any other medium.''
A quote from Sidney Sheldon who died last week at the age of 89. He won awards in three careers, Broadway theater, movies and television, and at 50 turned to writing best-selling novels about women who “triumph in a hostile world of ruthless men.” He wrote books that thrust this impressionable little country bumpkin into the exciting world of the big city and for me, it was love at first read! Potboilers? Yes. But he opened my mind to “what could be” and even though it’s been literally decades since I opened one of his books, I still remember the thrill.
Another news tidbit—it looks like Joss Whedon
is off the Wonder Woman project. A quote from his website: “Let me stress first that everybody at the studio and Silver Pictures were cool and professional. We just saw different movies, and at the price range this kind of movie hangs in, that’s never gonna work.”
Guess I’ll have to content myself with waiting for the Buffy comic to arrive to get my next Whedon fix. (My complete Buffy TVS and Angel DVD boxed sets as well Serenity and Fire Fly not withstanding.)
And I watched the Dracula
thing on PBS Sunday night. Overall impression: Disappointing. Thought they had a shot at following the Stoker novel, but didn't. I can't understand why. Anyone care to explain it to me? The original has everything and I can't think of a single reason why somebody can't translate that book to the screen and remain true to the story.
So on that cheery note, I'll sign off-- Oh, one more thing. I met a writer by the name of Lonnie Cruse
at Love is Murder a week or so ago. I finished her first book, Love in Metropolis and really enjoyed it. Now, I'm not a fan of cozies (anyone who has read my stuff will roll their eyes and say "no shit". In books and movies, if there's no gratuitous sex and violence, I have no use for it) but the thing that caught me about Lonnie's writing is that she did a damned good male POV. Add to that the fact that the books are set in the real life town of Metropolis, IL which even has a newspaper called The Planet and a lifesize Superman statue of the steps of the town hall, and you gotta love it! So look for Lonnie at your favorite book store and tell her Jeanne sent you!
Lisa Nowak, crashed and burned
As a writer, you couldn't make this up!
Sometimes you feel like a nut,
.....................Sometimes you don't.
As proof that life trumps art, this recent issue of Newsweek had as the cover story those two public drunks and crotch flashers, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Who would've thought that in the same week these millionaire tramps would've been upstaged by an astronaut...wearing diapers?
From this.............to this:
There's a lot of yap about poor love struck Lisa and the hardships she's faced as both a mom and an astronaut. Here's my response:
What's not being discussed is what lies at the heart of the matter. Nowak was more than a mom and an astronaut. She was also a sailor, an attack jet pilot, and a captain. I know of many good officers who never got to wear the bird on their collar.
Captain Nowak complained of the stresses of her job and being away from her kids for days. Her peers in the fleet (many of them moms as well) spend months away from home or are in Iraq doing their best not to get killed. In other circumstances Captain Nowak might have commanded an aircraft carrier or led a force of sailors and marines against the roadside bombs.
Let's not forget that she was charged with attempted murder against a junior officer. Captain Nowak's lawyer says that charge was over-reaching by the police. But I think they know from experience that when you stalk someone while wearing a disguise and have a knife, hammer, elastic tubing, and garbage bags, that you might be contemplating feeding the gators.
So Captain Nowak, thanks. You make my stories about vampires, nymphomaniacs, aliens, and the undead sound more believable.
Tomorrow night I'll be reading at Writers with Drinks
with Frank Portman
, author of King Dork
, and others. If you're in SF, come by and say hello.
Saturday, Feb. 10, 7:30 PM
The Make Out Room
3225 22nd. St., San Francisco
Yesterday, DHL delivered the Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs) of Midnight Brunch
. They didn't so much "deliver" them as leave them sitting out in the storm. The package kept them reasonably dry, and it was pretty exciting to see the ARC with its nice, glossy cover and great blurbs.Virginia Heffernan reviews the new television production of Dracula
and calls it a "campy sex-death potboiler," but in the good way. Heffernan has a lovely way of turning a phrase: "The surrender of British rectitude to rosaries and stakes-in-hearts is the central tragedy of this 'Dracula
The NY Daily News
, however, trashes it and calls it "dead on arrival."Kellie McNeill
gives Mary Stewart's
paranormal romance, Thornyhold
, a very nice review
over at BlogCritics. I have fond feelings for Stewart, since her novels were included in the Readers Digest Condensed Books
I read as a child. We didn't have many books in our house, but we did have a set of encyclopedias, dictionaries, and these "condensed" collections, which introduced me to many wonderful writers.
Baby, it's cold outside...
From our good pal vamprowler, an absolutely fabulous link
. I wont tell you what it is. Click on it to find out. I’m going to order this myself!
Speaking of fabulous, Love is Murder in Chicago is! Great conference with panelists that included Max Allan Collins, Ken Bruen, Anne Perry, my pal Charlaine Harris, Raymond Benson who turns out is a terrific pianist. He played after the banquet and his repertoire included James Bond themes of course.) I particularly enjoyed Max Allan Collins referring to himself as a “mid-list” author who is always trolling for the next job. A panel that included Benson and Collins (among others) talking about movie novelizations and the not-so-big bucks involved. Some interesting takes on ghost writing and the big name female author whose books are now ghostwritten. (Names couldn’t be divulged or we in the audience would all have to die.) In any case, this one goes on my keeper file. I plan to attend again next year. And to top it off, the food was terrific. All meals were included in the fee and not just finger food, honest to god meals!
Have to share one personal story. The book sale was handled by Sue Peterson’s Brainsnacks and the first day I was standing in line with Lonnie Cruse (who I met because she was taking an online class from Margie Lawson and when Margie found out we were both on our way to LIM, she hooked us up.) But I digress—anyway, Lonnie had picked up my book. At checkout, the lady at the cash register said “I just read this over the weekend!” So I am quietly trying not to react since I don’t know what’s coming next. But incredibly she said, “I love it. It’s a great book!” That’s when Lonnie introduced us.
Stayed on in Chicago for a couple of days to visit my daughter where it’s even colder than Denver. Here for the Super Bowl where the populace is taking the loss badly. Grief counselors are on call to handle suicidal Bear’s fans. Are we that crazy in Denver? I don’t think so but I may be wrong.
Speaking of cold, thought I’d share a picture sent to me by a friend. These people are skiing on the tops of the seats in Red Rocks amphitheatre. God, did that groundhog see its shadow? I hope not.
PS -- Check out this link
, too. Mario's new book X-Rated Blood Suckers
is a Barnes & Noble featured new release complete with interview. Way to go, Mario!!!
I had the pleasure of attending Chris Moore's
signing at the Tattered Cover bookstore. Chris was in Denver to plug his newest book, You Suck: A Love Story
, the sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends
. The signing room was packed with two hundred plus attending. Chris worked the crowd with his clever anecdotes. One example: Chris explained why he moved from the paradise of Hawaii to San Francisco. His answer: Living in Hawaii is like sleeping with a super model. One day you wake up needing conversation.
This week I got around to watching the movie, The Man With The Golden Arm,
starring Frank Sinatra. If you're certain that America in the 1950s was all poodle skirts and Happy Days
, then take a look at this coarse tale about the dark side of mid-century society. Heroin addiction, alcoholism, gambling (not at all like the poker matches on cable TV), extortion, people desperate to make ends meet let alone get ahead. I enjoyed the gritty details of the movie: the seedy bars, the clothing, the neighborhood drunks, the cluttered neon landscape. The characters lived in cramped studio apartments with the sink and a tiny stove next to the bed. There's a great scene of Sinatra visiting Kim Novak who works the concessions in a strip club. So much for the lily white morality of the Eisenhower era. The movie doesn't flinch from the hard edges of life back then and can get tough to watch as you witness Sinatra's character slide to ruin despite his attempts to escape.
What movies or books do you enjoy that show the world in a different light than what people want to remember?
On the vampire front, an advertisement for a chicken snack is terrifying children
in England. In the ad, Mattessons Fridge Raiders cause people to turn into vampires. You gotta love a country where they think calling something a "fridge raider" will make children go, "Yum!"Lee Clark Zumpe writes a very thoughtful review
of Octavia Butler's Fledgling
. Butler died a year ago, and the paperback of this vampire story was released this month. Zumpe writes, "Intentionally deviating from the hackneyed stereotypes of the gothic subgenre, Butler overhauls mythology and folklore and cultivates a plausible, scientific premise for her vampires."
I loved the first two-thirds of this book, which raced along, setting up a world where vampires and humans live in symbiotic communities. The last third bogged down in a rather uninspired courtroom setting, but the book is still well worth reading. It's even worth a headache; I couldn't stop once I started and that meant I read in a car ride. (Yes, I was the passenger.) I intend to read more of Butler's novels, and Kindred
is at the top of that list.
The cover for my second novel, Midnight Brunch
, is almost finalized. I sent off the proofs to my editor this week, and galleys will be out soon.
If you're around San Francisco next Saturday, I'll be reading at the Writers with Drinks
event at the Makeout Room.