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!

Friday, March 30, 2007
  Vampires & Cannibal Zombies
Oprah Selects Cannibal Zombie Novel for Book Club: It's true! Check out my blog entry here.

Fab Review in Publishers Weekly: Publishers Weekly called Midnight Brunch an "addictive combo plate."

Blogging with Caridad Pineiro: I had a fun time at vamp author Caridad Pineiro's blog this week, offering tips on humor writing and commenting on Stephen Hawking's less savory habits.

Dracula in a Tutu: Would I lie about this? The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is presenting Bram Stoker's Dracula. At last, Dracula won't look like a complete nut in a purple cape.

Do Trailers Sell Books? You tell me. Colleen Gleason has a trailer for her Gardella Vampire Chronicles on her website. The end of the trailer says that the books are "Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Pride and Prejudice." This is a Hollywood conceit, mixing two very popular items as a selling point, and Hollywood has traditionally been very liberal with its descriptions of movies. Showgirls is like All About Eve crossed with Pretty Woman! I don't know if authors are paying for the trailers, or if their publishers are picking up the tab, but I'd like to know if they're effective.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
  Mario's Big Day
Thought I'd share some pictures of Mario's launch for X-Rated Bloodsuckers at the Tattered Cover. Needless to say, a good time was had by all. BTW, the pictures were taken by fellow critique group member Sandy Maren-- Explains why there's no picture of her here, damn it. Thanks, Sandy.

Mario in front of the great display of his books.

We have a tradition of going to dinner before our signings. Here are Tom and Margie Lawson at the restaurant.

And lastly, a picture of Mario and I. If I haven't mentioned it before, he's a great guy and a terrific writer. If you haven't tried him yet, now's the perfect time. So get out to your favorite bookstore and pick up a copy or two!

Sunday, March 25, 2007
  The Gyros Journey
We writers prop ourselves on a lot of people. One bunch who's been there for me are those wonderful folks at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

Ten years ago, the wife-husband writer team of Andrea Dupree and Michael Henry sought to create a community of writers devoted to their craft. They're now situated in the historic Thomas Hornsby Ferril House, where Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Jack Kerouac, and other great American literary luminaries stayed while in Denver. Lighthouse is a place for poets, short story writers, essayists, screen writers, and novelists to hone their work. There's a long list of published members; don't believe me, check out their websites: Nick Arkin, William Henderson, Chris Ransick (the Denver Poet Laureate who can kick your ass sideways), Shari Caudron, and Alexandre Philippe to name a very few.

As an example of their support for their writers, this last Sunday Lighthouse hosted the book launch party for The Gyros Journey, Affordable Ethnic Eateries along the Front Range, co-written by Joey Porcelli and Clay Fong. For those who couldn't make it (more for us, heh, heh), we had lots of food samples, beer, wine, great conversation (mostly about the Rollergirls, the topic for a future blog), and more beer.

Okay, fellow scribes and ink-stained wretches (to quote Kurt Vonnegut), what props you up?
Friday, March 23, 2007
  William Faulkner & Vampires, MySpace, It's a Man's World

Faulkner & Vampires: William Faulkner wrote a vampire screenplay, Dreadful Hollow, based on a novel by Irina Karlova. (Now if that isn't a vampire name, I don't know what is.) Producer Lee Caplin is making a movie from Faulkner's screenplay. Caplin says, "Hollywood does not have enough film scripts written by adults, never mind Nobel Prize winners." I can't wait.

MySpace Apace: Some diabolical "friends" convinced me to go on MySpace. After spending several days consumed by looking at thousands of formats and layouts, I finally managed to set up a page. You can visit me here. The bad thing about MySpace: most pages are so cluttered and filled with flashing glitter graphics that you'll go into a seizure. The good thing: thousands of readers and writers are on the site.

All The Young Dudes: I've got Google Alerts set up to send me an email whenever my books are mentioned on The Internets, and yesterday I got an alert that a book reviewer had mentioned Happy Hour at Casa Dracula. He described it as a paranormal romance and said he didn't like paranormal romances. Okay, but it's a comedy, not a paranormal romance. There are no supernatural elements, no Alpa male hero, no magic, no undead people who live for hundreds of years, no focus on graphic sex scenes, no ninja-badass heroine, none of the conventions of a paranormal romance because it is not a paranormal romance, duh.

When I used my initials instead of my first name, people always understood that I was writing humor...except for that one angry guy who called me a "right-wing spin boy."
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Okay—not much on my mind this week except recovering from a nasty stomach bug. Maybe that’s why I’m feeling cranky. Watched the second installment of Blood Ties on Sunday. Somebody please explain to me why Vicki was stupid enough to go off on her own after the zombie queen instead of waiting for Harry? It was already night, so it wasn’t that she had to wait for him, and he was obviously right behind her. Not to mention the fact that she could hardly walk. What did she think she was going to do? Wise crack the bitch to death? God, I hate it when women do stupid things.

Here’s a pretty cool quiz to take on the Lifetime website, though. Tests your knowledge of TV vamps, demons and witches.

Still no Buffy—understand the first issue is already sold out. I am so glad I didn’t procrastinate…for once. Has anyone seen it yet?
Sunday, March 18, 2007
  Men of many words
This week I had the priviledge of listening to a pair of outstanding writers. Novelist Robert Crais was in Denver on tour for his newest bestseller, The Watchman, a Joe Pike novel. Here is Crais' last publicity shot, what he calls his Brokeback photo:

Crais left a successful screenwriting career (Hill Street Blues) to write novels, which he candidly admits were not well received at first. But now he's firing on all cylinders and easily breaks into the national bestseller lists.

Later in the week I attended a presentation by the Denver Post business columnist, Al Lewis.

Not only did Lewis give us pointers on good writing, he also reviewed his stories of white-collar crooks such as Jeffery Skilling of Enron infamy. Lewis makes the argument that modern American politics is a rigged game with our government acting as the agent of big business. Now Al's got his fingers working the keyboard as Joe Nacchio, the man who gutted Qwest, goes on trial. Stay tuned.

Who are your favorite writers?
Friday, March 16, 2007
  Caridad Pineiro's Characters Suck (Blood)!

GOOD TIMES: I've been enjoying exchanging a few emails with prolific and talented author Caridad Pineiro. Caridad is an attorney who still finds time to write chica lit, such as Sex and the South Beach Chicas; The Calling, a vampire series; suspense novels; and other paranormals. She has a contest every month, and the winner gets signed books and a very cool t-shirt.

You can read a portion of Devotion Calls if you scroll down on the link page, and I'm thrilled that Caridad will be doing a Q&A for the Biting Edge in May. Her vampires make me want to drink tequila in NY bars.

SAD TIMES: I have lost my Slinky. No, Slinky is not a cat. I had a small Slinky that I liked to play with while talking on the phone, or thinking through an idea, and it has gone missing.

BETTER THAN EXPECTED TIMES: I checked out the new vampire series, Blood Ties, on Lifetime, based on Tanya Huff's series. It was very Buffy inspired, but that's not a bad thing, and I really liked Christina Cox as Vicki Nelson. The character had a tough, gruff edge that worked, but not in that "isn't she cute when she's mad?" annoying way.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired ten years ago on March 10, 1977. It seems only right that I should honor that date with some Whedon news.

It has been confirmed that Serenity will see a second sequel series published by Dark Horse. Pub date is most likely this fall. Story line revolves around the crew landing a job so big, it will allow them all to retire. Such high stakes cause the team to come apart under the pressure. Brett Matthew will write the books, Will Conrad will do the art, Adam Hughes (tentatively) the covers.

Wired Mag does an annual six word novel contest in honor of Hemingway’s famous short: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Joss Whedon’s entry: Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.

Gotta love it.

I was hoping to have the first edition of the new Buffy Season 8 Comic in time for this, but alas, my mailbox remains empty. This link will take you to Tfaw.com where you can preorder the series.

Not exactly Whedon but kind of—Summer Glau (River Tam on Firefly and Prima Ballerina on Angel) plays a female Terminator on the new series "Sarah Connor Chronicles” set to air on Fox this fall. I, for one, always held Sarah Connor as one of my favorite kick-butt heroines. Lena Headey plays Sarah and Thomas Dekker, her son John. But the part of Sarah will always belong to Linda Hamilton in my mind.

What’s you favorite Whedon series/character/storyline? If you’re saying, I don’t have one or even worse, Joss who? Shame on you.
Monday, March 12, 2007
  My Magical Mystery Tour
I came in late last night from my first "official" book signing tour. I started last Friday in San Diego at Mysterious Galaxy, where I signed with Tim Dorsey, author of the zany Serge Storms novels. We had a great crowd and a lot of fun. Here's Tim taking my picture as I took his:

Saturday, it was up to L.A. I signed at Dark Delicacies and met Mike Feifer and the crew behind his slasher flick, Ed Gein.

Next, on to Westwood and a signing at the Mystery Bookstore. In between my signings, I did "drive-bys" stock signing at Borders and Barnes&Noble.

Sunday, up north to San Mateo and a signing at M is for Mystery. There, I met Hailey Lind, author of Shooting Gallery. Hailey's first book, Feint of Art, is up for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Both books are fun reads and very well written. Check them out.

Finally, it was up to San Francisco (the parking gods smiled and I got a space directly across from the store!) where I met Jude and Jeremy at Borderlands Books.

Friday, March 09, 2007
  Blood Ties
THERE'S A NEW SLAYER IN TOWN: Blood Ties, adapted from Tanya Huff's Victoria Nelson vampire series, will premiere on the Lifetime Channel on Sunday night. Victoria is a P.I. and her crime-fighting partner is a really old vampire and sparks fly. Okay, am I the only one creeped out by the theme of the ancient vampire trying to seduce the sweet young thing? Of course, fiction and film, the old geezer looks terrific, so you're not supposed to go, "Eewh, what a total perv! I bet he's on the sexual predator hotline."

You're not supposed to wonder why some guy who is 400 years old hasn't taken advantage of his time, like in Groundhog Day, and learned to play the piano, speak several languages, carve ice sculptures, read literature, etc. You're not supposed to wonder why an old coot doesn't get bored and annoyed with a person who's centuries younger. And the old coot is always a guy and the younger person is always a hot chick.

Well, one of the things that Francis Ford Coppola got right in Bram Stoker's Dracula was just how gross Dracula would look: a terrible hairdo, long yellow fingernails and seriously bad dental issues.

My question is: why do women want to read stories with seriously old guys played by hot young guys who fall for young women? What is it about this dynamic that seems exciting and not repulsive?

MARIO'S SURFING UP SOME VAMPIRE FICTION: Mario's in California on Saturday and Sunday, visiting bookstores. He'll be at Borderlands in San Francisco on Sunday afternoon.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
  Ode To My Writing Group
I love Tuesday’s. It means come 7 o’clock, I’ll be seated at a table with five of my favorite people. Well, make it four. Jeff Shelby has moved to Texas and while we are still battling the vagaries of the web cam, he often joins us by telephone. I’m going to introduce you to each one in no particular order.

Since I’ve already mentioned him, I’ll start with Jeff. Jeff was the first in our group to get a publishing contract. Killer Swell was released in hardback by Dutton in 2005. His second book, Wicked Break, came out in 2006. He’s at work now on a stand alone thriller that’s REALLY good. If you haven’t yet read his Noah Braddock books, do so now. They’re set in San Diego and I get homesick every time I read one. He’s a die-hard Padre fan, even if they don’t deserve such devotion. He has a great blog that you should also check out.

Next, the dynamic duo – Margie and Tom Lawson. Margie many of you already know. She’s a well-known lecturer on the circuit with classes on Defeating Self-Defeating Behaviors and a killer editing system. Check out her website and sign up for one and you won’t be disappointed. She and her hunky husband, Tom, are co-authoring a thriller. Tom is a pilot and built his own small airplane. Now, Jeff says the only way he’ll fly on a plane that small is in a casket, but the rest of us can’t wait to give it a try.

Sandy Maren is probably the best critiquer in the group. She has an agent shopping a YA novel and is currently at work on an Urban Fantasy. She zeroes in on exactly what’s wrong in anything we give her and comes up with suggestions to fix it. Remember the name, because before long, you’ll be looking for her books, too,

Then, of course, there’s Mario. I don’t have to say anything else except that his second book, X-Rated Bloodsuckers is out now and it’s SO Mario, you’ll love it. Most of you know, that Mario is also an artist. The picture at right is the present he gave me when The Becoming was first released. He heard me say that I wish I had a pair of 38’s and this is what he came up with. Although I refuse to WEAR it, I’ll treasure it always!

Why did I do this? Because in the last three years, everyone in this group has gotten an agent, gotten published, finished a manuscript, or otherwise established him or herself in the writing world. People ask me if I think a writer’s group is important? You can guess what my answer is.

PS Things to watch for this weekend: Blood Ties starts Sunday, right along with Daylight Savings Time. Yippee to both!
Sunday, March 04, 2007
  Sacred spaces

I spent this weekend tooling around the Denver metroplex signing stock for X-RATED BLOODSUCKERS. Some of the Barnes & Nobles had this nifty floor display (called a dump!) It was a kick to see copies of Jeanne's book THE BECOMING on display as well. While it was cool to see my book out, I get the willies thinking the worst. What if in three months my editor calls and asks where do I want the remaindered stock delivered?

Last week I turned in the third installment of my Felix Gomez books. What an ordeal finishing that one (as usual). I was looking forward to some time off to market X-RATED BLOODSUCKERS when my agent emailed and told me to get started on book four. Crack that whip! So I had an hour between sending in my third manuscript and starting on the fourth. I used the time to clean up my writing space--trash the layers of edited pages and PostIt notes, toss the dead pens, vacuum the sugar crisp cereal around my chair. As I was doing so I remembered an article I read a long time ago about establishing a "sacred space" for writing. A refuge to let my literary muse romp. Keep the place clean and quiet, burn incense and candles, surround myself with inspiring images. As a genre-writer, I don't have that luxury. If my writer space was a car, this is what it would look like:

What is your sacred space for creativity?
Friday, March 02, 2007
  X-Rated Bloodsuckers, J.R. Ward & More
X-RATED BLOODSUCKERS: Congratulations to Mario for having two novels on bookshelves! Booklist said, "Raymond Chandler could never have imagined an L.A. like this, where hard-boiled, private-eye vampires fight crime, as well as commit a few during lunch breaks." You can read Michael Sedano's review of X-Rated Bloodsuckers at La Bloga.

Mario's coming to California next week and visiting bookstores, so check out his website for times and places.

BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD: Katya Cengel interviews J.R. Ward on her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Yep, Ward was a corporate attorney with a closetful of dark suits when she wrote her first novel. What is it about lawyers and writing? Well, many of them studied literature in college, and writing is an important part of legal work.

Ward says, "Stephen King has a wonderful saying about writers, and I'm paraphrasing it: He says that writers are kind of like sieves in a drain, you catch whatever … you write about what you write about, and I was always sort of hardwired to write about happy endings. … But I'd always been sort of a horror fan and I'd always been interested in vampires and spooky things and ghosts, the paranormal thing … paranormal romances were just sort of coming out on the market and it astounded me because I thought, wait a minute, wait a minute, the hero can be a vampire. How fantastic can that be. "

Ward's latest vampire novel, Lover Revealed, will be released on Tuesday.

OCTAVIA BUTLER FUNDRAISER: I'll be reading on Sunday as part of a fundraiser for a scholarship in honor of Octavia Butler. Here's the info.

Sunday, March 4, 2007, 5 to 7 PM
Featuring: Nalo Hopkinson, Susie Bright, Jewelle Gomez, Jennifer de Guzman, Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Marta Acosta
The Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA, 510-841-2082,
Admission: $5 to $20 sliding scale

The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship will enable writers of color to attend one of the Clarion writing workshops, where Octavia got her start. It is meant to cement Octavia's legacy by providing the same experience/opportunity that Octavia had to future generations of new writers of color. In addition to her stint as a student at the original Clarion Writers Workshop in Pennsylvania in 1970, Octavia taught several times for Clarion West in Seattle, Washington, and Clarion in East Lansing, Michigan, giving generously of her time to a cause she believed in.

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