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!
The Throne Room
Busy weekend everybody. El Centro Su Teatro sponsored their annual Pablo Neruda Poetry Festival. Friday night was the awesome slam poetry competition.
Saturday night, poet supremo
, from San Francisco, Paul Flores
, gave us a preview of his new upcoming show, Representa, Bilingual Theater for the Hip-Hop Generation
(And as an aside, Paul quit his day job and now pays the bills as a poet! How's that for hustle?)
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that my Read of the Week was Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes
, about the events leading up to, and the aftermath of a school shooting. While her book hovered at the top of the NYT Bestseller list, the Virginia Tech massacre happened, adding to Jodi's reputation for her "clairvoyant" observations about American society.
Later, in a mention about literary vs. commercial fiction, Publishers Lunch quoted Picoult: "Most people in America want an easy read. I call it McFiction - books which pass right through you without you even digesting them. I don't mean a book that has two-syllable words. I mean chapters you can read in a toilet break."
Well guess where I read most of Nineteen Minutes
? Jodi, I love you (and your hair!) but don't knock reading on the throne.
This Read of the Week is writer/director Jesus "Chuy" Trevino's
novella, The Fabulous Sinkhole
A sinkhole suddenly appears in Mrs. Romero's front yard and from its mysterious watery depths, the hole regurgitates a host of forgotten objects: a silver dollar, a typewriter, even a '49 Chevy Fleetline. A funny, poignant look at the foibles and heroism of barrio life. In one chapter a house fly channels the spirit of Pancho Villa to help a young girl transition from tom boy to young woman. In another, a vato saves the world from avenging Mexican lowrider zombies.
Finally, un aplauso
for Marta and the great reviews for Midnight Brunch
"In her second in a series featuring Milagro de Los Santos, an intrepid Latina heroine involved with a family of vampires, Acosta shines...This sexy, sardonic siren is unlike the usual romantic-suspense heroine, and unique and alluring Milagro will continue to amaze readers in Acosta's terrific new adventure." BOOKLIST
"Marta Acosta's new book MIDNIGHT BRUNCH (Pocket) is out and it's a stitch. Acosta's feisty heroine Milagro De Los Santos is fabulous, sharp and independent...Definitely a great-by-the-pool pick." ORLANDO SENTINEL
"For a book that's ultra-hip and very now, look no further than Marta Acosta's MIDNIGHT BRUNCH, the sequel to HAPPY HOUR AT CASA DRACULA
....Here's a book that belongs on nightstands in hip downtown apartments everywhere. The delight is in Acosta's clever, fresh voice, which moves the narrative at a rollicking pace." BOOKPAGE
"Acosta's zany sense of humor thrives as she throws Milagro into even greater peril -- which is to be expected when one takes up residence with a family of vampires. " ROMANTIC TIMES
MIDNIGHT BRUNCH BOOK LAUNCH: Cody's Books
on 4th Street in Berkeley is hosting my book launch tonight at 7:00 p.m.. Food, wine, music, books...if you live in the area, come by and say hello. Other events are listed on my website
. Hope to see you!
Live From Romantic Times
Okay-- this will be short and sweet. I'm on my laptop in the lobby of the Hyatt in downtown Houston and while the conference doesn't start officially until tomorrow, the partying has started in earnest. So.. you'll have to excuse me this week. I'm off to join a group of Mr. Romance Cover Models to discuss world peace and the possibility of ending world hunger. Heavy stuff. Demands vast quantities of liquor. I'm way behind.
See you next Wednesday.
What a weekend! It started Friday with a gun battle at StarFest/HorrorFest 2007 here in Denver. Klingons versus Empire Stormtroopers. Fortunately I had my blaster pistol (from the Roswell UFO crash) and gave those stormtroopers a megadose of Federation justice. (Hey, Klingon chicks and Orion slave girls can be very appreciative.) After the mayhem died down, I signed books with Carrie Vaughn
, the queen of talkshow werewolves.
The hotel was parade of great costumes: old school Transformers, Star Trek (yeah!), Star Wars (boo!), Harry Potter, vampires, those appreciative green Orion slave girls, pirates, Ghostbusters, and acres of cleavage! (sorry, no photos because my camera fogged up) Big thanks to Chloe and Kathy for the wonderful hospitality.
Sunday I played host to visiting author Richelle Mead
from Seattle. We signed at the Denver Book Mall with our own Jeanne Stein
. Richelle and Jeanne are going to hobnob this week at the Romantic Times conference in Texas. Wish them luck and easy hangovers. Last night, I gave Richelle and her husband Michael the nickel tour of Denver: dinner at Hizzoner Hickenlooper's restaurant, the Wynkoop Brewing Company, followed by jazz at the Pavillions and karaoke at Charlie Brown's.
It was a late, late night of fun and check out what Richelle has to say in her private diary
Biting-Edge Welcomes Caridad Pineiro!
Writer’s block isn’t a problem for Caridad Piñeiro
, who has written 14 novels while working as a partner at the law firm of Abelman, Frayne & Schwab. She’s a specialist in intellectual property, but she explores different genres with her paranormal, suspense, and women’s fiction stories. She moves comfortably from the gritty streets of New York in her vampire novels to the sultry hotspots of Miami in her South Beach Chicas’
books. She’ll even head into the Amazon Rainforest for an upcoming paranormal called Moon Fever
Caridad, who also teaches workshops and attends conferences and conventions, found the time to talk to the Biting-Edge about the exciting new release, Blood Calls
, in her vampire series, The Calling
.Marta: You're a full-time attorney as well as a prolific writer of paranormal novels, romantic suspense, and contemporary fiction. Do you think that your education and experience as a lawyer affects your writing style and choice of themes?
Caridad: I definitely think that my training as an attorney has helped with my writing. As an attorney, you're taught to think about the logical progression of the argument you are presenting and that training is a real help when you are creating a plot since it is basically the same thing -- following a logical progression of steps to reach a believable conclusion.
So far though, my career as an attorney hasn't influenced the themes in my novels, although some would say there's not much difference between vampires and lawyers since both are bloodsuckers. Seriously though, I have had characters who were attorneys and when I did that, I tried to include real life issues that female attorneys sometimes face.
Marta: You write in a variety of genres, and I wonder if you have a favorite? Do you decide what's next, or do you get guidance from your agent or publisher?
Caridad: I would have to say that the paranormals seem to appeal to me on various levels. I find that melding real life issues with the otherworldly aspects of the paranormal world let me explore the darkness of the characters and I enjoy those grittier aspects. However, it's tough being dark all the time and my women's fiction novels help me get away from that and explore the humorous side of my personality. As for deciding what to do next, my agent and I stay abreast of what's happening in the publishing world and we discuss the projects that I'm mulling over. We decide where the market is headed and which of my projects are not only right for the market, but which projects display the strongest aspects of my writing.
Marta: Who are the writers who've influenced you? Are you also influenced by movies, television, or art?
Caridad: I'm influenced by a number of writers and also, television shows and motion pictures. I'm very much a media junkie and find that the time I spend either reading or watching will oftentimes inspire new ideas. In fact, I usually am watching television when I write since I find the visual stimulation helps me a lot with my work.
Marta: What do you think is the allure of paranormal stories? Can you tell us a little about they way you came up with the rules for your paranormal stories?
I think paranormal stories are inherently based on the universal struggle between good and evil. That battle appeals to all of us and involves us in the story since we want to see good prevail. As for the rules for my paranormal world, I started off by researching some of the more popular vampire mythologies. After establishing which rules were
hard and fast and which I could bend, I started crafting my own mythology. Being a science geek, I gave my vampire world a scientific basis that has emerged in a number of the novels (like Danger Calls
) and will be developed slowly over the course of the upcoming novels.Marta: You're writing stories featuring smart, successful, appealing Latinas. Is there something you want to say about your culture by using these characters?
Caridad: I want to say that Latinas are part of the mainstream and are smart, successful women. I think that does a number of things for not only Latinas, but for all women. First it demonstrates that women have attained many goals that a generation ago were harder to reach. Second, I hope it inspires younger women to reach for their dreams by portraying empowered women, many of whom have overcome hardship to get where they are. Last, but not least, the fact that they are Latinas helps to build awareness of Latina culture to many. Hopefully with that awareness will come the realization that we are all not that different.
Marta: Tell us a little about a normal day for you.
Caridad: I usually get up around 5 a.m. in the morning to get ready for work. As you previously mentioned, I still have a full-time job as a lawyer in Manhattan. By 6 a.m. I'm on a train to New York City. During the train ride, I'm almost always at work on my laptop, writing a story (I probably owe NJ Transit a dedication one of these days). When I get to NYC, I walk to my office. It's a nice way to clear my head and get ready for work.
At the end of the day, it's a walk back to the train station where I plot out what I will work on during the trip home. At night, I usually relax with my family unless I've got a pressing deadline or promo materials to create. Weekends are when I do the bulk of my writing, normally 3 or 4 hours on Saturday and Sunday.
Marta: Okay, you have one supernatural ability: what is it and why?
Caridad: Only one? Since I'm afraid of heights and flying, it would probably be great to have the ability to fly. Hopefully that would let me overcome those fears.
Marta: What are we going to see next from you?
Caridad: Blood Calls
, May 2007, is the next installment of The Calling
. Starting in December, The Calling
will continue with a Christmas vampire novella titled Fate Calls
and after that, there will be three other novels in The Calling
novels in 2008/9. I'll also have a romantic suspense, Secret Agent Reunion
, in August 2007 and my edgy women's fiction, South Beach Chicas Catch Their Man
, in September 2007. I love switching from one genre to the next because I find that it helps keep my writing fresh.Marta: Is there anything else you'd like to tell readers?
People Did Not Like It Here
I guess just about everyone has said his good-by now to Kurt Vonnegut. He looked and acted the part of a crazy uncle but the man could write. I like these closing lines from his poem called “Requiem”:
When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth could say,
in a voice floating up
from the floor
of the Grand Canyon,
“It is done.”
People did not like it here.
One who obviously did not like it here was the sick fuck who killed 32 people in Virginia. My thoughts go out to the families of the students who thought their sons and daughters were enjoying a spring day on a sleepy Virginia campus only to get the most horrific call a parent could ever imagine. Or worse, to turn on the television and see it happening in real time. Brings back memories of Columbine. I will never understand why a suicidal maniac can’t just turn the gun on himself and spare the innocents. Even Vonnegut suffered depression and attempted suicide. But I’ll bet he never, even in his darkest moments, considered taking a classroom of strangers with him. It’s not only the loss of young life that’s tragic, but the potential for future accomplishment each represented. We’ve all been robbed of that. It makes me furious.
PS From the sublime... any of you in the Denver area, stop by the Book Mall, 32 Broadway, Denver, on Sunday April 22 at 3 p.m. for a dose of fantasy and fun. The triple threat event features Mario, Richelle Mead and moi. Hope you can make it!
Our Reel Hero
This week I attended the XicanIndie Film Festival presented by El Centro Su Teatro
Director/Writer Jesus Salvador Trevino
was given a Festival Award for his work on the cable series Resurrection Boulevard
. Trevino is from the East L.A. barrio and credits science fiction for saving him from a life of crime and poverty. No surprise that his resume includes Babylon Five
and Star Trek, Deep Space Nine
Next week I'll be at the 2007 StarFest/HorrorFest
. The woman to my right is not a movie star but Carrie Vaughn
, author of the bestselling Kitty Takes a Holiday
Last week I was a guest columnist for the award-winning LaBloga
This week's Read of the Week is Jodi Picoult
's mesmerising Nineteen Minutes
Finally, so long, Kurt Vonnegut
. We'll miss you.
Goodbye, Mr. Vonnegut, and the Midnight Moon Cafe
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
1922 — 2007Goodbye, Mr. Vonnegut
: I was very sad to learn of Kurt Vonnegut's death
this week. I was a devoted fan from the moment I started reading his absurd, warm, and heartbreaking stories. He will be missed. I will miss him. My character, Milagro, writes political horror stories based on dreadful premises -- this was my small nod to Vonnegut's character, Kilgore Trout.Midnight Moon Cafe
interviews paranormal writer Carrie Vaughn
. Vaughn sums up her Kitty Norville series
as "Vampires. Werewolves. Talk radio." Her stories don't shy away from the ugly political situations that would happen if supernatural characters came out of the closet and asked for civil rights.LoveVampires Loves Midnight Brunch:
I was delighted to see raves of my new novel at the review site LoveVampires
. Midnight Brunch got a five-star review, and the review says, "The result of the style change is a story with both dialogue that flows beautifully and a plot that keeps the reader hooked."
Everybodys got an ax to grind...
was interesting. Evidently the heirs of author A.A. Milne and illustrator E. H. Shepard are suing Disney for royalties due on the licensing of the Pooh characters. To the tune of $2 billion in damages! Talks broke down so now it’s on to federal court. Disney, BTW, supposedly makes $1 billion annually hawking Pooh products.
Got the ARC for Blood Drive yesterday. The interesting thing is, there’s no cover art, just a plain cover with the name of the book, etc etc. After the debacle we went through over the long hair issue, I don’t know what to think. And I’m almost afraid to ask. So I guess I’ll just hope for the best when the book comes out. But in the meantime, I used an outfit called Iconix
to do a business card. Worked with a designer named Kelley Cowan. I am very impressed with the results. What do think?
And last but not least, Happy Birthday to fellow critiquer and all around good guy, Jeff Shelby.
Check headspace and timing
In the army, we had this big ass-kicking machine gun, the .50 Cal M2--the Ma Deuce. When we tried to fire the machine gun and it wouldn't work, the sergeant would scold us. "Did you check the headspace and timing?" Well, no. Check headspace and timing became synonymous with, don't be a dumb ass.
Last week I had to check headspace and timing a couple of times.
First, my truck started to overheat. My guts sank at the thought of what it was going to cost. I replaced the water pump last year and it wasn't cheap. Since I've moved, I needed to find a mechanic close to my new place. I called one shop and this guy with a thick Arab accent answered. I told him the problem and he asked, "Did you look at the coolant level?" Well, no. Stupid question. Every time I take my truck to Jiffy Lube or Grease Monkey they check fluid levels. The Arab mechanic advised, "Look at your coolant level. If you still have a problem then come see me."
I looked at my truck's coolant level and the radiator was close to bone dry. It sucked down almost a gallon of Prestone.
Check headspace and timing.
Then Dharma Gedden
(don't you love that name) emailed me to say that I had listed the wrong Roller Derby website a couple of weeks back. What I could distill from her words and threats was: Check headspace and timing.
So here you are, The Denver Roller Dolls
. (more to come after the bout)
Book of the week: A Year in the Merde
. Stephen Clarke
's hysterical antidote to sappy travelogues.
Year of the Cannibal Zombie
A Zombie Here, There, and Everywhere:
When I announced on my other blog that this was the Year of the Cannibal Zombie, I had no idea how my proclamation would effect other artists and thinkers. Today another cannibal zombie movie is hitting the big-screen, Grindhouse
, from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. I'm just tearing up right now to think that famous directors are listening to my suggestions about the artistic value of cannibal zombies.Bad Vampire Poetry Writing Contest with Prizes:
Do you think you can write bad poetry? Have you always suspected that you're a real hack at heart, with the passion of an IRS auditor? If you've got the confidence that you can write some poetry that really stinks up the joint, please enter my First Annual Bad Vampire Poetry Contest. The winner receives a signed galley of Midnight Brunch
and an item of Easter candy (whatever I find in the clearance bin). I've extended the deadline until next Friday. You may enter a sonnet, haiku, or limerick. Send it to me at marta @ martaacosta. com (but take out the extra spaces). Good luck to the worst writer!New Website Design:
check out my new website design
by my friend Tracy McBride of Woodpecker Feather Designs
. Very vampirey, right? Please visit me at MySpace,
Have a great weekend!
Here are the covers
for the newest Harry Potter. This should be a good summer for HP—a movie and a new, albeit last, novel.
Which makes me think about writing series books and what happens when you’ve used up all your ideas and/or just gotten tired of the characters and want to stop. I’m at the beginning of the Anna Strong books and every idea I get can be adapted to her life and times. But at some point, am I going to say that’s it? I’m tired of the San Diego beach life and the sexy vampire existence and want to hang up the fangs. Then what?
I attended a Sue Grafton signing and a fan asked her what she was going to do when she finished the “Z” novel. She laughed and said she’d be eighty and she damn well planned to do nothing. On the other side of the coin, there’s Robert B. Parker who has the Spenser series, the Jessee Stone series, the Sunny Randall series, numerous stand-alones and now, a YA book just released. He doesn’t plan to EVER stop writing. He always implies it’s because he needs the money, but somehow, I think he’d be all right if he stopped right now. Course, I don’t know what kind of shopping budget Joan has. I have a feeling she’s very high maintenance.
Anyway, writing is more than a career or job for most of us. It’s ingrained in our psyches, as much a part of our physical existence as breathing. When I can’t or don’t write, I actually feel guilty about it. Like I’ve let myself down. Like there’s nothing more important I should or could be doing. Is that a blessing or a curse? I’m not sure but I imagine Sue Grafton will find something else to write about in spite of what she says now.
Well, I’ve just signed on for two more Anna Strong novels. For me, the point is moot.
A small aside, May’s issue of RT Book Review magazine contains an article about Urban Fantasy. I was lucky enough to be included as one of the new authors in the genre. If you get the chance, check it out.
Four is this week's lucky number
It's Monday and thank God for coffee.
Good news in the book department. Jeanne got a new contract so we'll be seeing a lot more of Anna Strong
, vampire bounty-hunter. And by seeing a lot more of Anna, let's hope she keeps the lights on, if you know what I mean.
In the Mario department, my first book, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
was awarded by the weekly Westword
, Best of Denver 2007 for a Best New Book by a Colorado Author
has gone into its fourth printing.
While we're on the number four, X-Rated Bloodsuckers
, was number four on the Denver Post
And to fight the Monday blahs, check out the new issue of The Hollow Fang