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!
First off, thank you all for your kind thoughts about my daughter and her pet. She saw them all and sends her thanks as well.
This From BBC Magazine:
Comics are to be Hercule Poirot's latest incarnation. It's the latest twist to crime fiction, a genre constantly reinvented in its 170-year history.
Agatha Christie’s tales make perfect comic book fodder, which is why her publishers of 70 years, HarperCollins, hope that Hercule Poirot et al will appeal to the same young readers who for generations have lapped up the exploits of TinTin, Asterix and more recent heroes of graphic novels …
Thanks to Joss Whedon, too, for making this popular medium even more so. Speaking of which, TV Guide
rates Buffy Comic. Let’s just say, they like it!!
A recent AP poll
had some good news, bad news about reading. Some 25% of all adult Americans say they did not read even ONE book in the past year and on average, adults read four books in the last year…
The most avid readers are women and seniors; religious works and popular fiction are the top categories. More men than women are nonreaders, and they tend to be older, less educated, lower income, minorities, from rural areas and less religious. And those who read, read dozens of books a year. Let’s hear for the readers! How many books would you estimate you read a year?
From a Buffybud: Serenity The Collector’s Edition
was released August 21. It contains all the material from the initial release, including bonus features, and adds a new cast commentary and a DTS audio track. Follow the link for a great review and description.
Something fun I picked up from Richelle Mead’s blog
. Take this little test
and let me know what your power element is. Here’s mine:
Your Power Element is Fire
Your power color: red
Your energy: hot
Your season: spring
Like a fire, you are full of power and light.
A born leader, you easily draw people toward you.
You are full of courage and usually up for anything dangerous.
You have a huge ego and love to be the center of attention.
I love that mine’s FIRE. Makes me feel powerful! But, of course, I don’t have a HUGE ego…and I certainly do NOT like to be the center of attention, right?
Okay, you can jump in here anytime.
For a bit of BSP: MANY BLOODY RETURNS
will be on the shelves Sept. 4. From the press release:
A fun and unique story collection, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner, MANY BLOODY RETURNS contains thirteen all new, never before published stories, each one offering a fresh take on the concept of what birthdays mean to the undead. "Toni and I had some wonderful planning sessions about the theme for the anthology," writes Charlaine Harris in the introduction to the book. "We decided to pick two apparently unrelated concepts—vampires (the dead) and birthdays (normally considered a celebration of life)—and see what different ways some very talented writers could combine the two." Contributors include: Charlaine Harris, Toni L.P. Kelner, Christopher Golden, Bill Crider, Kelley Armstrong, Jim Butcher, P.N. Elrod, Rachel Caine, Jeanne C. Stein, Tanya Huff, Carolyn Haines, Tate Hallaway, and Elaine Viets. Harris and Kelner were careful to choose an even balance of traditional mystery and traditional fantasy writers; the result is an outstanding anthology and "a fantastic introduction for new readers to some of the best-known writers in the field" (RT Book Reviews).
I understand foreign rights were sold to a publisher in Poland. Advance sales at B&N are pretty darn good. I haven’t yet seen a finished copy—I’m hoping they might be available at Dragon.Con and the Decatur Book Festival in Atlanta this weekend. Which reminds me, is anyone planning to attend either event? Please look me up if you are.
Rachel Lane sent me a photo
she took at Comic-Con with her traveling companion, Frank. For some unknown reason, Blogger won’t pickup the picture, but here’s the link if you’d like a peek! Thanks, Rachel. Where are you and Frank headed next?
Okay that’s it for today—The Biting Edge is off for the long weekend so there’ll be no Friday issue. See you next week and enjoy these last gasps of summer. I, for one, can’t wait for fall…
It's called Popular Fiction because we have readers
This last week I was in the megapolis of Castle Rock, Colorado, as a presenter for their first Rock Solid Writers Conference. I had a great time and met plenty of good folks. I taught a workshop, How to Plot Your Way to Publication
. To abide with our Biting-Edge tradition--that nothing is worth the effort unless there's a Devil Duck at stake--I awarded a coveted Devil Duck to a deserving student. I was going to raffle the duck off or try a trivia contest but what's the fun in that compared to blood sport? So we had a mud wrestling brawl. Winning in a flurry of Muay Thai
kicks and brass knuckle punches, was Debbie Wise
. You can tell by her expression that her elation was tempered by the news that owning a Devil Duck is much like possessing a Monkey's Paw.
The conference headliner was the renowned Pam Houston
. The author of the acclaimed Cowboys Are My Weakness
(written in the hetero pre-Brokeback Mountain days), Pam is also the Director of Creative Writing at UC-Davis. Very much a literary writer, she's also a self-described book snob which means this picture illustrates the closest she'll ever get to a vampire book, even mine.
Hi all-- Jeanne here.
I had planned to write a light column today in keeping with Friday’s fun theme, but last night my daughter called and she had to have her long-time pet and companion, Nina, put to sleep. Nina was a cat of indeterminate age that Jeanette was given right after she moved to Chicago about ten years ago. It was a rescue, of sorts, because Nina belonged to an elderly gentleman who could no longer care for her. Nina was a beautiful longhaired cat. She was shy, but would warm up after a session of petting or grooming. She loved to be brushed. She slept beside Jeanette and would wake her with a paw to the cheek or by purring so loud right in her ear, that Jeanette had no choice but to rouse herself and get that food on the table—or in the dish. She loved catnip and any toy that held it. She made nests for herself in the closet, loved sleeping under the covers or in the light from a sunny window.
Nina should have had a few more good years. She was a victim of tainted pet food. It cost her the use of her back legs, kidney problems, and yesterday, her life.
I’m not a pet owner. I like animals, but not the responsibility that goes along with owning one. Jeanette, however, is the opposite. She has a big heart. Nina is the second cat she’s rescued. The first, an abandoned kitten only days old, lived a happy life because of her. I know when the pain and sadness of Nina’s death become a little more tolerable, she’ll look for another cat to take into her home. It’s what she does. It’s what she is. It’s why I love her so much.
My “day job” is editing a newsletter for a Distinguished Brands International
, a Colorado beer importer. I track articles of interest to beer enthusiasts (and there are a lot of them) but this one struck me as being just plain weird. It seems Anheuser Busch
is launching a new line of bottled water that is being marketed as an integral part of skin care. Skin care. Borba Skin Balance Waters contain antioxidants, vitamins and botanicals which, if you believe the press, help provide “clearer, firmer skin and help for dry, dehydrated skin.” There will also be a powder form of the line.
"Adding the BORBA Skin Balance Waters and Aqua-Less Crystallines to our portfolio allows us to participate in the emerging nutraceutical beverage category," said Dave Peacock, vice president of business operations, Anheuser-Busch.
Huh? I’ve heard of diversification, but am I the only one who finds this ridiculous and just plain disingenuous?
This from Mario . It’s a great article
by writer Will Beall about Reggie, the alligator, piranha and other interesting creatures run amok in the City of Angels. Anyone who has spent any time in LA will read this and yawn but for the normal folk among us, these are great anecdotes beginning with the aforementioned Reggie:
So Reggie the alligator already has escaped once from his cell at the Los Angeles Zoo. Mark my words: No prison will hold him. He will escape again and steal a Ferrari Enzo.
And speaking of great anecdotes, how about the one about Stephen King walking into an Australian bookstore and being accused of defacing books? Seems he was seen signing books (his own of course) and customers who didn’t recognize him, reported it to the manager. She followed him into a grocery store (she evidently did recognize him) and they chatted for a few minutes before she let him get on with his shopping. The books he signed will be donated to charity.
A couple of things about upcoming fall TV shows:
Summer Glau, who played River Tam on Firefly the Prima Ballerina on an episode of Angel, will have a recurring role in the Sarah Connor Chronicles. Here are some screen caps
from one of the shows and an interview
with Summer about the show.
And a bit about CBS’s Moonlight
. I thought it was cool the way they were promoting the show, with the “interview with a vampire” bit until I heard a rumor that they had to promote it that way because they fired all the original actors except the lead. You may already know that. I’m always the last to know anything.
Well, the dog days of summer are here. I just finished page proofs for my third book, The Watcher, due out in December. I’m at the half way mark in book 4. I wish it was fall already.
Special treat: Here’s the Joss Whedon panel
from Comic-Con! It was taken from the audience, obviously not by a professional, but you can see and hear him. Whedon fans, enjoy!
PS This just in from today's Shelf Awareness. Couldn't resist:
Richard Davies of AbeBooks.com
notes that the bestselling sex manual on the site so far this year is a Christian one from 1981 that is now out of print and four Taoist sex books are also in the top 10. Sex in the City star Kim Cattrall's sex book also got a strong response from readers. One reason for the popularity of such titles at AbeBooks.com: as Davies put it, "You don't have to face a bookseller when you order online."
AbeBooks.com's top 10 bestselling sex manuals in 2007 so far:
1. Intended for Pleasure: New Approaches to Sexual Intimacy in Christian Marriage by Ed and Gaye Wheat
2. Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships by David Schnarch
3. She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman by Ian Kerner
4. The Tao of Sexology: The Book of Infinite Wisdom by Stephen Thomas
5. The Sexual Teachings of the White Tigress: Secrets of the Female Taoist Masters by Hsi Lai
6. The Multi-Orgasmic Man: Sexual Secrets Every Man Should Know by Mantak Chia and Douglas Abrams Arava
7. Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy by Mantak Chia and Michael Winn
8. The Sexual Teachings of the Jade Dragon Taoist Methods for Male Sexual Revitalization by Hsi Lai
9. Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm by Kim Cattrall and Mark Levinson
10. Hot Monogamy: Essential Steps to More Passionate, Intimate Lovemaking by Patricia Love and Jo Robinson
An offer he couldn't refuse
Busy weekend. I finished the copyedits for book three of my vampire series, The Undead Kama Sutra.
They go in the mail tomorrow.
The other day my son were on the highway and saw this:
This is what happens when you're late on your "insurance" payments. To make the situation more ridiculous, my son and I thought the "victim's" head should have a metal plate in it that sparks as it scrapes across the highway and then catches fire.
As you may have read, Nymphos
is a finalist for a Colorado Book Award
in Popular Fiction (next year I'll try to get nominated for Unpopular Fiction). Last Friday, the finalists in Poetry and Anthology/Collection had readings at the Mercury Cafe. I had met W.C. Jameson in July at the Writing the Rockies conference in Gunnison. He was at the Merc as the collection he edited, Hot Coffee and Cold Truth: Living and Writing in the West
, was nominated for an award. Here's W.C., giving us his typical west Texas what-the-hell-do-you-want glare while his wife, Laurie Wagner Buyer, undoes his badness with her goodness.
For you UFOers and abductees, we have this opportunity to share your tales of any close encounters: Humanoid Galaxy
Keep it clean. No probing stories.
The Undead Decider
It’s bad marketing practice to entice you to another blog but through Richelle Mead
’s posting I found It’s Not Chick Porn
, where Dionne Galace and her snarky pals vent about writing and book covers. Wanna read about a guy wearing a belt buckle as big as his balls? Unzip here
. And then come back. Promise.
Here’s another contest. This time for you poetry mongers.
Cash prizes$$ Check here: Thomas Hornsby Ferril Poetry Prize
I know you poets aren't in it for the money, but if you win, buy me a drink.
One question I get asked is, what are the vampire rules? Who decides what must the vampire do and avoid? Well, the quick answer is that I as the author decide. My way or the highway, baby.
My rules? No weepy goth stuff. A clean coffin--how would you like crumbs in your bed? Whenever an excuse to imbibe presents itself, bottoms up.
Sunlight is a bitch but giving up daylight hours makes it tough in this 24/7 world. Fangs? Of course! Bite me.
Super powers? You bet. Crucifixes? Naw, the only time my vampire ever answered an altar call was if they served sacramental vodka. Garlic? Means bad news. Not only does it burn like battery acid, my vamps have to give up Italian food. The horror.
Fellow blogger L. Vincent Poupard has his rules. To read, apply fangs here
What are the rules for your vampire?
BIG congratulations to Mario
for Nymphos of Rocky Flats making the cut as a finalist for the Book Award in Popular Fiction offered by the Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book (that’s a mouthful.) There’ll be a bunch of us at the ceremony to harass—no, hassle—no, annoy—I mean support him in his moment of glory.
More good news from my friend Charlaine Harris:
“I know you'll all share my happiness. "True Blood" has definitely been picked up by HBO and will join its lineup. When I have a debut date, I'll let you know.”
Yippee!! Check out more on Charlaine’s
I love Shelf Awareness
. I always find interesting tidbits. These from the last two weeks:
Teen in Potter translation arrest
A French teenager suspected of posting his own complete translation of the latest Harry Potter book on the internet has been arrested.
And the follow-up on Tuesday, Aug 14:
Gallimard Jeunesse, the French publisher of Harry Potter titles, will not seek damages from the 16-year-old boy who apparently translated Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows into French and posted it online, according to the AP (via the Washington Post). The boy spent a night in jail and could still be prosecuted in the courts.
Read the full article
And this opportunity for Borders employees:
Borders Group is looking in-house for manuscripts for its new proprietary publishing program, State Street Press, which launched in June. The company is holding a fiction writing contest open to all its more than 30,000 employees in the U.S.--the winner will receive a book deal with State Street that includes "the full support of Borders merchandising and marketing arsenal." A panel at the corporate office in Ann Arbor, Mich., will judge the contest. The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2008.
An article that makes you realize all those editors living in New York have the same problems most of the rest of us do. From Poes Deadly Daughters.
Editors: Underpaid and Overworked
Scroll down to August 8--
That's it for now, folks. Can you tell I'm still playing catch-up? We're still mulling our next contest. Maybe once summer is over, the heat will stop rotting my brain and I'll actually be capable of a coherent original thought or two.
Need your mojo
I'm back in my home port. Spent last weekend and the beginning of the week in San Diego cleaning up the mess our Jeanne
had left at Comic Con
. When I mentioned that I knew her, I learned to turn around and run before I got beaned with empty bottles of beer. (Don't let Jeanne tell you otherwise, she was an author gone wild.) I've been in San Diego before during a short and whirlwind signing tour. I had arrived at my hotel late and left early so I never got a chance to see how beautiful the city is. This time I lingered around enough to almost get cited for loitering. One major detail that's not mentioned anywhere in the tourist bochures is that the air traffic landing at the airport screams low over the city. To get the full effect of this picture you need a sound track of 120 decibels.
Yesterday I taught a plotting class for Lighthouse
. The class was held in the community room of Panera Bakery, a very cool space. Here are the students, from your left to right: Karen, Tricia, Joan, Cammen, Susan, Janine, Heather (who won the Devil Duck--her life will never be the same. Heh, heh), Jim, and Denise.
Afterwards I met with Lucille and her son Eric, from Amarillo, TX, enroute home from Sturgis (yes, that Sturgis). They made the detour just to meet me and get their copies of Nymphos
signed. I took this photo of them inside their trailer with the Harleys. How cool was that? (Actually it was hot as hell.)
Several weeks ago I posted my thoughts about the future. On her blog Richelle Mead
said that she was blown away by Altered States
, a gritty futuristic novel by Richard K. Morgan
. So far, WOW!
And finally, I got an announcement saying the Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book
had nominated these books and authors for a Colorado Book Award in Popular Fiction:
by Rebecca K. RoweIron Ties
by Ann Parker
The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
by Mario Acevedo
Two of my writer friends are also nominated:
Creative Non-Fiction: Who are You People?
by Shari Caudron
Anthology/Collection: Hot Coffee and Cold Truth: Living and Writing in the West
, WC Jameson
I guess it’s back to the real world. I’m still on the road, but now I’m hitting all the big box stores to sign stock. It’s not nearly as much fun as visiting with Patrick and the gang at Mysterious Galaxy, Del and Sue at Dark Delicacies or Christine at Mystery & Imagination, but it’s necessary. I’ve met some very nice people at the B & N’s and Border’s who are enthusiastic about meeting writers and love to talk about the books.
Some news on the TV front: The Dresden Files has been cancelled. The ratings weren’t high enough. The star, Paul Blackthorne, has joined the cast of ABC’s BIG SHOTS in a recurring role. Just like publishing, it’s all about the bottom line.
For you writers of romance out there, Gather.com and Pocket Books are launching a First Chapters Romance Writing Competition
. Gather.com members will be able to rate submitted manuscripts, ultimately selecting the next great romance novelist. The grand prizewinner will receive a guaranteed publishing contract with Pocket Books, along with a $5,000 advance. The winning book will receive promotion at Borders and will be sold at all Borders and Waldenbooks stores across the nation and wherever books are
sold.So, Aubrey, Vicki and Kathy, you already have killer first lines. Polish up those chapters and enter. Let us know if you do.
with J. K. Rowling but spoiler alert, she does talk about the end of the series.
from Holt Uncensored entitled: Ten Mistakes Writers Don't See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)
And a couple last Comic-Con things. The San Diego Union-Tribune ran an article about people's reactions to San Diego. Two Brits had this to say: They hate San Diego. It's too bright, the sun is relentless and everyone looks too damned healthy. Gee, all the things I LOVE about SD. Then, there's this article
that I enjoyed (and now can really appreciate): "Buffy Season 8" Comic Book - Turning Civilians into Comic Book Geeks. This was from Publishersweekly.com - By way of whedon.info. com- 2007-07-21
Okay, time to jump back on the horse and get out to more stores. Today we head to Laguna Beach and mix business with pleasure. I hope that jewelry kiosk that sells those great earrings is still there. I plan to do some Christmas shopping.
How’s your summer going?
Joss Whedon and the ARC
I'm trying to play catch-up after Comic-Con and still slightly dazed by my encounter with Joss, but wanted to share the story. Penguin is publishing an Anthology entitled Many Bloody Returns edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni Kelner. It’s dedicated to Joss. When we found out he would be at Comic-Con, the plot was hatched. Get a copy of the ARC to Joss. Since I have a story in the book, and would be attending as well, the task fell to me.
As expected, Joss' signing was by lottery only and since they were only allowing 75 in line, my odds were pretty high. The numbers were drawn, mine was not among them and I'm standing there wondering if I had enough cash with me to buy my way in when a voice at my shoulder says, "Aren't you Jeanne Stein?"
Well, NO one has ever recognized me in a crowd so I turned around and there was a woman standing there and she got so excited. My first thought was, there's got to be another Jeanne Stein around here that's a famous author. But she actually meant me. Anyway, we started to chat and she had the coveted green wristband that meant she was a winner. She asked me if I got a number, too and I said no and explained that besides being a fan, I also had something to present to him.
Well, Kristine Bochum (that's her name) said, "Oh, you've got to get in. Come
So off we go to find the manager of the Dark Horse booth, Kristine introduces me as a “well known” author, I explained I had an ARC of an anthology dedicated to Joss, and the guy says, "Of course you can meet Joss. Just get in line with Kristine and if someone questions it, tell them to find Mark."
I couldn't believe it!!! The upshot was, Joss got the ARC, said he was touched and appreciative, I got Buffy Season 8 #1 signed, comics signed for friends Susan and Vicki, a picture taken, and am still glowing!!! Now where is the ARC in the picture, you may ask. Good question. Shows you how completely star struck I was. The ARC is on the table in front of us and out of camera range.
But to me, the mission was still a complete success. Needless to say, I took Kristine to dinner and will remember her forever!!
As a postscript, I was leaving Joss' line and honest to God, another woman taking pictures stuck her hand out to me and said, "Jeanne, I love your books."
What a wonderful feeling. For just a little while, I knew how Charlaine Harris or Mario Acevedo must feel ALL the time. It's so awesome!
I took some notes during the Joss panel-- it was in a ballroom and dark so my handwriting (which is horrible at best) was difficult to decipher. But here are some of the things he said-- you may already know all this stuff but it was new to me.
There's going to be a Ripper movie! Anthony Stewart Head will appear in the BBC TV movie but no further details were given.
There will be a Buffy Season 9 comic and an Angel Season 6.
He’s is finishing the score for a short film he’ll be directing called The Serving Girl starring Summer Glau-- It's a ballet!
Joss and Drew Goddard have written a horror script together called A Cabin in the Woods. He called it a horror film "to end all horror films." Knowing how he abhors the slasher, torture kind of thing (mercifully, Captivity died a quick death in theaters) it should be interesting!
One of the best questions by the audience was which character do you regret most killing off? Tara was one. In fact, there was an episode planned for the last Buffy season where someone (I think it was Buffy but I'm not sure) was granted a wish and at the end of the episode, Willow turns around and Tara is there. Amber's film conflicts made it a no-go.
Anya was mentioned, too, of course, and Wash in Serenity.
But now, of course, it’s back to reality. I’m still on the road, will be for the next week, signing stock at bookstores and signing in San Diego at Mysterious Galaxy this evening (Friday) and Dark Delicacies and Mystery & Imagination tomorrow. If any of you are in the San Diego or LA areas, details are on my website.
I also want to thank my readers in the Denver area. Last week, Blood Drive made the Denver Post PB bestseller list—#4. You guys made it happen.
Off to SoCal
I hope this post holds you until next Wednesday when Jeanne and I get back on schedule. I've been summoned by Comic Con on an emergency visit to clean up the mess Jeanne Stein left in San Diego. I've been told there isn't an ounce of vodka left south of La Jolla. I won't be back until late Tuesday and the hotel I'm based at doesn't have internet. (They do have indoor plumbing.)
My news to share is that HarperCollins is releasing my first two books, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
and X-Rated Bloodsuckers
, in mass market paperback. Nymphos
will have a new cover that looks like this:
Whadda think? Pretty snazzy. My one nit is that woman standing in that goofy pose and has her elbow raised to air out her armpit. Not my idea of hot. Maybe she's a radioactive nympho. But if anyone from HarperCollins is reading this blog, I love the cover. Every tiny detail. Even the armpits.
So stay tuned, Biting-Edge fans. Next week I'm sure Jeanne will gush with stories (especially about Joss Whedon.)