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!
Comrades! The people have spoken
Mario here: The votes have been counted, the bribes paid, and we have chosen a winner.
Thanks to all who entered our contest. You floored us with your masterful prose. Because of the skill and talent demonstrated by the finalists, Jeanne and I have decided to award them each a Devil Duck.
Yes, it’s true. Four Devil Ducks awarded at one time! It staggers the imagination. The Algonquin Round Table only got one Duck (for Dorothy Parker). At the end of World War Two, the victorious American general staff got two (George Marshall and Ira Eaker). The crew of Apollo 11 got three for being the first men on the moon. And now, decades later, we award four of the Devil Ducks. It’s a little known fact that Devil Ducks are made of 24 karat gold, unless they were on backorder, in which case, we the staff of Biting-Edge, reserve the right to substitute Devil Ducks made of space-age polymers. Honorable Mentions
go to:Kathy Matthews
and Gillian Taylor
for Fashion Model
First place Runner-Up
. Now, this is not second place, this first place runner-up means something big. Huge. King Kong huge.
In the event, however unlikely...who are we kidding...the winner of this contest will be lucky to see next week. Devil Ducks go for a king’s ransom on the Asian market. Arm yourselves.
for Eat Only Vegetarians
Now on to the Grand Champion of the World of our Fantabulous Vampire Writing Contest
. Ding! Ding! Ding!
We could pay off your mortgage, make your car payments, offer healthcare for life (implants and face lifts included), but no. We award this: The Devil Duck Grand Prize
. And enough swag to swamp a boat (a very small boat).Aubrey Davis
for Vampire in the Hawaiian Shirt
, otherwise known as the tampon story.
Ta da! There you have it. Before you celebrate too much, remember that story, The Monkey’s Paw?
It was originally titled, The Devil Duck.
* So beware.
Everybody, congratulate our winners. Finalists, make sure you send your shipping address to Jeanne@jeannestein.com
* Just kidding.
Okay-- I'm doing something different today. I'm going to type this right into blogger instead of cutting and pasting. I keep finding new things to add and if I don't start writing, this entry will never get finished.
Let's start with the good news/bad news.
Good news is Blood Drive, second book, is in bookstores now. Since I haven't received my author copies yet, I didn't even see the finished book until Sunday at the Elaine Viet's Stand In Signing at Murder by the Book
. Mario told you about that on Monday. Anyway, it was a thrill to see it and hold it. I'm a little terrified of the sophomore slump I keep hearing about though I beat the odds on a previously small pub'd book never being picked up by New York. Why shouldn't I beat this, too, right?
Bad news is I've lost all the e-mail addresses from my website. No one knows how it could have happened. All I'm told is that however it happened, the data can't be retrieved. Not to worry, though, my mail is intact and that means all your votes have been safely tallied and preserved for posterity.
Which leads to a reminder: if you haven't voted yet, you still have a few hours left. This could be the beginning of illustrious writing careers for our lucky finalists. AND, you may add the tag: award winning author when your first books are published. So either vote by comment below or by going to my website
And if you've got a completed synopsis, remember that Media Predict.com
book proposal contest I mentioned last time? I'm told they don't have anything in the urban fantasy category so check it out.
For Buffy fans, or more specifically Spike fans, James Marsters, our favorite vamp, is currently filming for the second season of a Dr. Who spinoff, "Torchwood." The title is an anagram of Doctor Who and Torchwood
is a secret task force dealing with extra-terrestrial and supernatural stuff. Kind of sounds like a British X-Files. But with Spike on board, how bad could it be?
Got this from Shelf Awareness who got if from the New York Times. It's a bookcase
with a built in "cave" to curl up in. I'm just not sure how comfortable it would be.
Kind of like curling up on a park bench. But since it retails for about $7,000, I imagine comfort has been taken into consideration.
Got an RWA alert about Triskelion Publishing going out of business on July 2. I know of several authors who signed with them and my sympathies go out to them. It's an author's worst nightmare. Finally land a contract and then have your publisher go out of business. RWA suggests authors send a notice to Triskelion terminating their contracts and requesting immediate release from their agreements. Correspondence should be sent via certified mail or other receipted delivery service.
Okay, let's end on an upbeat note-- Check out the Romance Novel
on YouTube. This should make you smile.
This Thursday is the last day to pick your choice for the winner of our First Fantabulous Contest for the best opening scene of a vampire story
. The votes are storming in. (We won't mention the tempting bribes to sway the count. Jeanne says to Adam from Las Vegas, throw in first class round trip tickets and a double suite at Bellagio and then maybe.) You can vote by leaving a comment here or by sending an email to email@example.com
Saturday, me and the crew did a proxy signing for Elaine Viets
at Murder by the Book
. Lauri Ver Schure, the store owner, provided the beautiful cake rendition of Elaine's hysterical new book, Murder with Reservations
. From left to right, me, Chris Goff
, Beth Groundwater
, and our own Jeanne Stein (mulling that offer from Adam).
Sunday, off to the Denver Book Mall and a signing by two authors, who are as talented as they are tall, Lori Lacefield
(The Seventh Suvivor) and Mark Stevens (Antler Dust).
Then, to Larimer Square in downtown Denver for the chalk paintings and art show of La Piazza 'dell Arte
The work in the foreground belongs to local artist Eric Matelski
. Here recovering after spending two days on the asphalt in 90+ heat doing his bit for the cultural enrichment of your world.Remember, vote in our contest. Nothing less than the fate of the literary world depends on you!
Readers, we have a problem.
I think I mentioned that Mario and I NEVER agree on anything. Well, he didn’t disappoint me this time either. We could NOT choose a winner.
So, we took all the entries to an impartial panel of reader/writers. They only saw the entries, no contestants’ names (just in case our fabulous cache of valuable prizes was so tempting, they convinced their best friend or second cousin twice removed to enter so they could share in the spoils.) We came out with four finalists, though there were many others who garnered a vote or two as well. Our judges were amazed/delighted at the caliber of entries. As Mario and I were, as well.
Here’s the deal. Below are the four finalists; the number refers to the order in which the entry was received. It’s your turn to help us out. Vote for your favorite. Vote by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or comment. One vote per person. As Mario points out, if you choose to vote via comment, you can sway other voters with your arguments (he actually said: incendiary
arguments—but no flame wars, please.)
All four finalists will receive a prize. YOU will determine who gets the GRAND prize.
So here, drum roll, are the finalists:
When he sat down in the confessional, I knew he would be my next meal. Something about the way he sighed when he looked at the wooden screen. He'd done something very naughty. His sin oozed from his features. It was weighing on him deeply, his crime. I would hear his confession, give him penance, and then grant his wish for "salvation". They don't call me Church for nothing.
The first thing I can suggest if you want to become a fashion model is don't. The hours are lousy, the pay is worse, and there's always, always someone younger and prettier than you if you have the misfortune to be heard complaining about either. If nothing else will butter your pancakes, however, there's one tip I'd strenuously advocate and that's to get yourself vamped. Dead girls don't have to count calories.
"I had a dog once," Robyn said conversationally. "He pulled tampons out of the trash and chewed them. Because of the blood."
"Yeah?" said the vampire in the Hawaiian shirt. He didn't look up from the newspaper. "That's fairly disgusting."
"I just want to know if it's safe to put tampons in the trash, or if they're like tasty blood popsicles for you."
"I'll try to control myself," he said, and turned the page.
Being undead sucks. At least that’s what my teenage son would say, and he’d be right. Granted, it’s better than the alternative, being completely dead, but it’s not nearly as glamorous as it’s made out to be. First, there was no mystical change that turned me into a walking sex goddess. I look basically the same, which is kind of disappointing. Maybe I can get an upgrade if I’m very good and eat only vegetarians.
Congratulations to the finalists and thanks to everyone who entered. There are a lot of really good writers out there just waiting to be discovered. Maybe this will be a first look at a book destined for greatness. Enjoy.
PS Votes must be received by midnight, Thursday, June 28, to be counted.
MONDAY: REALLY don’t feel like writing today, so let’s get a jump start on this week’s blog.
The contest is closed. Thanks for all the great entries. It’s not going to be easy to choose a winner. And since Mario and I don’t agree on much of anything, it may be even harder than it should be. I don’t know when he’s going to realize that I am always right…
BLOOD DRIVE’s release date is one week away. I’m a wreck.
A couple of things of interest in the book world.
(AP) LOS ANGELES A federal bankruptcy judge awarded Ron Goldman's family the rights to O.J. Simpson's canceled book, "If I Did It," which the Goldmans want to rename "Confessions of a Double Murderer." The Goldman’s will make sure OJ never makes another dime from the book's proceeds by getting the rights included as part of a nearly $33.5 million civil jury award they have been trying to collect for almost a decade….The book's rights now pass to an independent trustee, Drew Dillworth, who will decide what to do with them. Any proceeds will go to the Goldman’s, even the $600,000 supposedly paid as an advance if the money is ever found.
Want to know EVERYTHING going on in the paranormal/vampire universe? Check Marta’s vampwire.com.
It’s great. And you can spend hours on it when you should be doing something else.
TUESDAY: Still not writing.
Want to have some fun with the book market? Go to www.MediaPredict.com
and place a bet on which submitted book proposal is likely to be published. Simon & Schuster is going to select a book based on bets placed with fantasy cash by traders. Proposals can be submitted from agents and the public. Here’s your chance to build an audience BEFORE you even get a contract!
And some Harry Potter fun—on July 30, Scholastic is launching a sweepstakes
, the winners of which will be going to Carnegie Hall on October 19 to hear J.K. Rowling herself! Mark your calendar to check for rules and information.
One editor of children’s books, Graham Marks, remarked at BEA on the deep discounting of Deathly Hallows: “Everywhere you go, there is huge, ridiculous discounting by the chains. They are literally not going to make one penny out of the book. It is stupid…”
Maybe so. I know it makes it harder for the Indies. But if discounts make the book affordable to more young (and not so young) readers, I say how bad can discounting be?
WEDNESDAY: Okay, I wanted to load this
on the blog, but couldn’t make it work. The Yankees are here in Denver playing the Rockies tonight (evidently the first time since 2002.) The series is a sell out. I thought of our friend, Jeff Shelby (whose paperback of Wicked Break
was released this month—buy it!) and knew he would appreciate it even though he’s a Padres fan. So if you want a laugh, follow the link. If you want a good read, buy Jeff’s book. Better yet, do both.
The heat is on. I don’t do well in the heat if there isn’t an ocean around. How do you keep cool?
PS A note from Mario: Jeanne and I will announce the results from our decadently opulent Biting-Edge corporate offices on the island of Majorca. According to Jeanne's wishes and as usual, this press release will be clothing optional. See you there.
Majorca? He told me he was in Bakersfield….
I got the cover for my third Felix Gomez book, The Undead Kama Sutra
And I accuse Richelle Mead of pre-plagiarism. If you doubt me, then check out her UK cover for Succubus Blues.
Coincidence? I think not. A succubus with wings? Please, that is such a ripoff of the vampire wardrobe.
For those of you wondering about the contest, our evaluation process is hermetically sealed. Even I don't know what's going on and I'm one of the judges!
Saturday I attended The Exotic in Literature Salon
, part of the Lighthouse Writers Workshop Lit Fest.
The writers were Harrison Fletcher, Tamara Guirado, and Alex Espinoza. Alex read from his novel, Still Water Saints.
He's the one at the lectern. Tamara is the one with the angelic literary glow behind her.
The panel discussed, "what is exotic?" and it was like talking about politics. There were a lot of opinions but no consensus was reached. Me, I consider mysteries set in Baltimore or south Boston as exotic.
What is exotic to you?
We’re at the finish line for our contest! After today, no mas
. Soon we award the Devil Duck.
The e-mailman for the Biting-Edge world corporate headquarters got a hernia delivering the bzallions of entries. All were cool, some were great, but I was a little suspicious of a few. Frankenstein?
What kind of a title is that? It’ll never sell. Gone With the Wind?
Again, not sure of the vampire angle but the title...Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.
Last night I attended a writers salon as part of the summer LitFest sponsored by the Lighthouse Writers Workshop. The topic: "Secret Lives of Writers" A Salon discussing what writers do to support/complement/sustain/supplement their writing lives.
The guest speaker, Marci Alboher
, is an author/speaker/writing coach and led a discussion about how people identify themselves as writers and what they do to pay the bills. Few of us can sustain ourselves through our writing and we need the day job to keep from living in an alley.
Do you “out” yourself as a writer? How compatible is your day job with your writing aspirations? Are you a writer/cube rat/mom/volunteer?
First things first—Only three days left to win the duck… We’ve gotten lots of really GOOD entries so competition is stiff. And “aspiring writer” correctly named the opening line of Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire. Since I know her personally, I can deliver the prize to her myself!!!
And it really is cool to have friends with a plane…Here’s a picture that was taken a couple of weeks ago. The “wing sitters” are Margie Lawson (co-owner of the plane with hubby and pilot, Tom) me, and Sandy Maren, also a member of our critique group. We went for a ride in the wild blue and there’s definitely a different feel to a small plane. We’re trying to figure out how we can all take a trip together but since the plane only seats four, Mario may end up being the REAL wing sitter.
Media Hits: Anybody have a comment about the Soprano’s ending (or lack of it?) Creator David Chase seemed to be setting the scene for a Godfather-style shoot out. The entire Soprano family wiped out. He’s either very clever or couldn’t think of a better ending or is leaving it open to another project down the line. In any case, I still loved it. I’ll miss old Ton down at the BadaBing.
Now it's official: Veronica Mars
is dead. I guess I'll have to stop hoping for a miracle, or at least for CW's program directors to come to their senses. I should have known better.
New fall program of interest: Moonlight
whose executive produce, David Greenwalt, did Angel and Buffy as well as several others. It will be on CBS.
Speaking of Buffy, interesting stats on sales numbers for Buffy Season 8 Comic Book—issues 1 & 2. Comparison is with other big selling issues in the Buffy line.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (Dark Horse)
04/2001: Buffy the Vampire Slayer #32 - 16,970
04/2002: Buffy the Vampire Slayer #44 - 16,371
03/2007: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #1 - 126,793
04/2007: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #2 - 96,409
This looks to be Dark Horse’s biggest hit in ages, in terms of monthly issues. As well it should be!
I probably should be ashamed of myself for including this next item. But Paris Hilton with another book deal
And this was before she found Jesus. How much more are we going to have to take?
I really enjoyed this article: My Book Deal Ruined My Life
. (Of course, it’s from the New York Observer, my all-time favorite rag. I’ve been a subscriber for fifteen years.)
The last paragraph is especially good. It sums up what we all feel even on our worst days. And peruse the comments. One particularly good one is from Caridad Piñero
who lists her “three P’s for publishing: Passion. Professionalism. Perseverance.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Five days remaining
I know you want our Devil Duck! To win this fantabulous prize, enter our writing contest
I spent the weekend in Boise, Idaho, for the Murder In The Grove Mystery Conference
. I've never been in Boise and I had an awesome time.
The trip started with more adventure than usual as I flew with my critique partners, Margie and Tom, in their slick Lancair airplane. A long time ago I was a pilot in the Army and I forgot a crucial aspect about flying...the weather! On Thursday we waited until noon to let the winds settle. We then tried to poke our way through a cold front and stopped in Cheyenne, WY, to wait out a snow storm. Afterwards it was into the air again. The Lancair was a cozy ride, a VW bug is palatial by comparison. (Avoid Taco Bell before you go.) The low clouds meant we had to fly on instruments at high altitude and it was COLD. Margie and I bundled up in blankets. We arrived later than we wanted but were treated to a beautiful night vista of Boise when landing at the airport. After two gloriously sunny days in Boise, on the ride back it rained, naturally.
Here's Tom, Margie, and their son Erik (our copilot)--in the rain.
What would a writers' conference be without martinis? (At ten bucks a pop which is why I got home broke.)
Here's the bar at Hotel 43
and the atmosphere practically purrs.
Paying the lunch tab at the funky bistro Protos:
Dinner in the Basque quarter meant the restaurant Leku Ona with plenty of schmoozing, mojitos, and paella:
When you're a famous author like our headliner Robert Crais
, the awards luncheon table centerpiece includes free copies of your novels:
Here's a shot of the hotel lobby.
What's absent from the picture is the drama that I just missed shooting. There was a wedding party earlier in the evening and I saw a young woman in a bridal dress sobbing on one of these chairs. Another woman on a floor below me was telling her to stop crying and said she was on her way down to cuddle. Then another woman came from the bar and took the woman in the dress away. The "cuddle" woman arrived and started cursing at the first woman, then went back into the elevator. You fill in the blanks.
Okay—Just seven days left to enter the Fantabulous Freaky Friday Writing Contest. To see the valuable prizes offered, scroll down to last Friday’s blog entry. Pictures and rules. All right there.
Remember: original unpublished works ONLY. So if we get an entry that begins: “’I see…’ said the vampire thoughtfully, and slowly he walked across the room towards the window…” Mario’s Hairy Butt Punishment will descend like the wrath of God. (However, the first person to identify that quote will
get a special prize.) Submit your answer as a comment--
Writing contest winner will be announced next week, right here, same bat time, same bat channel!
First of all, sorry to be late posting today. I could say it’s because I was busy writing on my new book. Or that I was performing my day job (editing a newsletter for Distinguished Brands International, a beer importer. I know more about the beer business than one person should.) Or that I just got in from a trip to Bora Bora.
Truth is, I’ve worked myself into a panic over this damned pre-book release stuff. I have a new publicist at Ace and after my experience with the former publicist who used to e –mail me with regular updates about reviews, etc etc, to not hear anything is driving me insane. I tell myself not to think about it. But that’s like not noticing the elephant in the room. I tell myself there’s not a thing you can do. If you don’t get reviews, you don’t get reviews. But I know that if I don’t get reviews, the book doesn’t have much of a chance. My husband tells me to relax. Charlaine Harris tells me to relax. My friends tell me to relax.
So DAMN IT—why can’t I????
Okay. Thanks for letting me rant. I don’t really feel better, but at least it’s off my chest.
On to book stuff. I guess it was only a matter of time, but Harry Potter will be coming to an Orlando Theme Park near you. From a press release
: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Universal Orlando Resort are partnering to create the world's first fully immersive Harry Potter themed environment based on the bestselling books by J.K. Rowling and blockbuster feature films from Warner Bros.
Fully immersive? Have no idea what that means.
And Simon & Shuster seems to be backing down from their new reversion of rights (or non-reversion of rights) clause and now says they are "willing to negotiate a 'revenue-based threshold'" to determine whether a book is considered in-print. Interesting the change of heart after shouting from the rooftops that it would be non-negotiable! Good job Writers Guild.
And this from a Whedon Loop: 2007-05-31
Livejournal Censors Adult Content, Fandoms Mass deletion sparks LiveJournal revolt
Thousands of LiveJournal customers are rebelling against the company’s recent decision to censor hundreds of sex-themed discussion groups, a broad swath that has led to the removal of literary critiques and fan-written fiction about Harry Potter.
has the full article and I must admit, I haven’t followed up on this one. Any LiveJournal participants out there who would like to comment?
I guess that’s it for today. By the way, the contest entries are pouring in so check out last Friday’s Blog for details. The Duck awaits. And an unsolicited comment from reader, Renee Sweet about the fangs: They rock. What more could you ask for in a contest prize! Deadline is June 15!
We're getting swamped with entries for our fantabulous writing contest
. Seems everybody wants the DUCK!
Remember, read the rules
. Unpublished writers only this go-around. Steven King, John Grisham, Nora Roberts, nice try but you're disqualified.
This weekend in Denver we had the Peoples Fair, held in Civic Park, the same location as the Cinco de Mayo celebration I wrote about a few weeks back. There wasn't the expected amount of zaniness, no giant spinning rolls of toilet paper or the Dentyne Ice Dancers. There were these drag queens riding on the back of a golf cart.
On to the DEADLINE!
June 15 is the last day for contest entries. It's also the day my revised manuscript for book three is due back to my editor. I have eleven short days to get all the kinks out. This manuscript completes my contract. Despite how well things have gone, I still let my doubts get the better of me.
Like my editor calling and saying, it's supposed to be of publishable quality
. A new contract for you? Ha! Or my agent going, Mario, who? It's the day job for you, permanently.
Biting-Edge announces its first contest. It’s no ordinary writing contest. Forget the Pulitzer. The Nobel Prize for Literature. How can that fame and money compare against what you can win from us?
All you need to submit is the first paragraph of your original vampire story. A limit of 75 words. Enter any genre or style. Gothic. Romance. Humor. Urban fantasy. Anything as long as it’s good. Deadline, June 15, 2007. Unpublished writers only!
Okay you say, Biting-Edge, so I enter your contest. What fantabulous prizes
can I expect to win?
First off, there’s the honor and prestige of winning our Biting-Edge contest. That alone is worth millions. Submit the winning entry and you also get the coveted Devil Duck—the Hope Diamond of cheesy collectibles.
But wait, there’s more!
Win the contest, we’ll post your entry on this blog for the world to see and we’ll throw in these two nifty refrigerator magnets of Jeanne’s Anna Strong novels.
Awesome, no? The winner gets the Devil Duck, global exposure of your writing talents, and two Anna Strong magnets, but that’s not all!
To further tempt you, we’ll add this bonus: two buttons of Mario’s Felix Gomez vampire swag. Usually you’d pay big bucks to get these commemorative collectibles. Here we’re tossing them in extra.
So you can get the Devil Duck, world-wide Internet distribution of your entry, the Anna Strong refrigerator magnets, and the Felix Gomez buttons.
We at Biting-Edge won’t stop there. The winner will also get these Felix Gomez vampire P.I. postcards and that includes the ultra-rare pre-publication NYMPHOS OF ROCKY FLATS postcard!
To win all these fantabulous prizes, enter the first paragraph of your amazing vampire story. Submit by Friday, June 15, 2007 to Jeanne@jeannestein.com
The small print: Submit either in the body of your email or as a Word document. Times Roman, Arial, or Courier 12 point font (make it easy on us). Unpublished writers only. Cheaters will get the Mario Hairy Butt Punishment and you don’t want that! If you enter the contest and you get keyboard cooties, a meteor falls on your head, or the posting blows your witness protection cover and the Mafia does a CSI number on you, whatever, we are not responsible for anything except for the good things that will happen to you. HOLD EVERYTHING!
Did you think we’d let the winner get away with only the Biting-Edge honors, the Devil Duck, Anna Strong magnets, Felix Gomez buttons and postcards? This is a vampire story contest and what would that be without vampire teeth! Winner take all!