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!
We have a winner! Ho, ho, ho!
Here is the winning entry for our ghetto-fabulous Bad Santa Contest. Pour yourself some yuletide cheer and enjoy: On Ice
Sunlight on ice. Ow. He squinted against the glare, but that made his head throb. His brain felt like it was trying to escape. Escape sounded good.
He shaded his eyes and unexpectedly scraped his forehead. He squinted again. Long, yellow, fingernails curled from his reddened fingers which met raw-skinned hands and peeling arms and thick torso. Shit! He was naked! His body looked like it had been scalded with greasy wax, and what the fuck was he doing outdoors in the snow naked?
A log cabin with broken, green shutters interrupted the frozen, empty landscape. Icicles hung in thick curtains from the roof, glittering in the sunshine, but smoke rose from the stone chimney. Footprints, his own he assumed, led from the cabin to where he stood. He retraced them at a run, shuddering from the cold.
The plank door opened into a single dim room. A huge wooden tub steamed with hot water, and a low table held a bowl of soft soap, a scrub brush, and towels. He stopped, his hackles rising.
A tinny chuckle came from a dim corner. "Every year ye bolt before ye be fully awake. When will ye learn?"� The elf stepped forward. "The year of sleep is over, Mr. Claus. Scrub off the year's filth and don the red suit."� The little creature slapped the control wand against his leg, creating a shower of lavender sparks. "Now," it barked. "The reindeer arrive soon."
Santa obeyed his warden.So who is the author of this prize-winning gem? Who knows? Our mystery writer sent an email address but no name! Come out of the closet, Jeanne won't bite (hard).
Okay—so today is the official release date for The Watcher. As usual, I awoke in the middle of the night with a panic attack. It’s hard enough to write a book and sell it and hope people will “get” it, but then you have to put yourself out there and peddle it, too. I have wonderful support from my family and friends and fellow writers (thank you, Jeff, for buying the very first copy available in Texas) but then there are all of those people out there who don’t know me and have to take a chance on a book and writer they know nothing about. And the competition!!! I don’t even want to get into reader choices.
It’s morning and the panic goes on…
Let’s think about something else.
This has got to be the most disturbing quote of the week:
Business Digest, Friday, November 23
"If we can make it all the way there on biodiesel made from chocolate, then there's no reason why people at home can't run their car to the supermarket on the same thing."
UK explorer and environmentalist Andy Pag commenting on his impending 4,000 mile trip across the Sahara desert, during which he and his co-driver will travel in a Ford Iveco Cargo lorry that will be fueled with biodiesel made from chocolate, as cited by the Daily Mail.
Are you friggin’ kidding me? Now I’m as environmentally conscious as the next guy, but what a colossal waste of nature’s most perfect food. Come on, Andy, use corn like everybody else.
On December 13th, there’s going to be an interesting auction
held at Sotheby’s in London. J. K. Rowling’s Tales of Beedle the Bard, a handmade volume of previously unpub’d stories, will be sold for charity. Estimated value: $82,670. What do you want to bet it goes for much more?
I’m afraid I have to disagree with Mario about No Country for Old Men
. I think the ending let’s you use your imagination. Tommy Lee Jones has the most wonderfully expressive face ever and Javier Bardem and his cattle gun rank with Hannibal Lector as scariest villain. While Tommy Lee’s humanity shows on his face, Bardem’s deadpan gave me the willies. I give the movie two thumbs up!
Speaking of movies, an article
ranking the most “unfortunate” movie titles put Serenity at #10. If you’re curious why, follow the link.
Amazon launched its e-book reader Kindle
. Priced at $399.00, it ain’t cheap. Here’s what they say about it on the Amazon site:
# Revolutionary electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.
# Simple to use: no computer, no cables, no syncing.
# Wireless connectivity enables you to shop the Kindle Store directly from your Kindle—whether you’re in the back of a taxi, at the airport, or in bed.
# Buy a book and it is auto-delivered wirelessly in less than one minute.
# More than 88,000 books available, including 100 of 112 current New York Times® Best Sellers.
# New York Times® Best Sellers and all New Releases $9.99, unless marked otherwise.
If you’re into e-books, you might want to check it out. Me, I’m still partial to paper.
Just got a couple of pictures from this month’s World Fantasy Con. Thought I’d share.
This group pic is of (left to right) Toni Kelner, Charlaine Harris, me, MaryElizabeth Hart, Jeff Mariotte, and in front, my editor, Jessica Wade.
Here I am with Toni and Charlaine, editors of Many Bloody Returns. And, of course, authors who need no further introduction.
Special PS to a friend: Happy Birthday, Christina.
Contest! Win cool stuff!
Fellow vampire writer and Biting-Edge alumnus Marta Acosta has posted an interview with Mario. Learn his quirks and fancies. It makes for great conversation around the copy machine at work. Might even get you a promotion. And there's a contest. How cool is that? (Pretty darn cool) Read all about it HERE
No Country for Darjeeling
We novelists often get asked if our writing will be made into movies. Who knows? That's so far out of our hands that you might as well ask us to do something about the weather on Jupiter.
As busy as I am, I seldom make the chance to go to the movies so I try and make the visits count. It remains hit or miss.The Darjeeling Limited
appealed to me as a quirky fun movie akin to Little Miss Sunshine
Two words best describe TDL
The movie makes no sense. Owen Wilson mugs around in this fiasco with bandages on his face, which reminded me of all his troubles with drugs. Maybe this turkey drove him to abuse. We imagine that the glamor and money of cinema shields one from doing crap work to pay the bills. Yet poor Anjelica Houston appears in this drek like she's waiting to pass a stone.Then there is No Country for Old Men, a Coen brother's adaption of Cormac McCarthy's novel. Javier Barden, as the assassin Anton Chigurh, gives us a killer so creepy he'd give Predator the willies. As cruel as Chigurh was, I'd award him Gandhi karma points if he visited The Darjeeling Limited and offed those lead caste members (double points if he uses that nifty cattle thumper).
While the end of the No Country for Old Men explains the title, the movie had a weak, ambiguous ending. The sheriff, Tommy Lee Jones, simply gave up. He decided to retire and riff poetically while the killer walked. In this case, why didn't the Coen brothers bring the sheriff from Fargo and sic her on Chigurh? She was pregnant but that didn't keep her from nabbing the killer.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
It’s hard to believe, but with the arrival of Thanksgiving comes the arrival of the third book in the Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles: The Watcher. In The Watcher, Anna battles a witch with ulterior motives, a Mexican drug lord with ties to both the
mortal and immortal worlds and her own demons in her continuing quest to find a place in the world. It's a tough fight, but the one thing Anna has always been able to handle is trouble.
Got some news this week. I sold a second short story, this time to a mystery anthology edited by Dana Stabenow titled Scene of the Crime. Straight mystery, no paranormal elements so it was different to write. No fangs or fur. Back to my roots, so to speak, because straight mystery was what I’d always written until The Becoming sold.
Speaking of The Becoming, it went into second printing. My editor was pleased, as am I, of course. Penguin is featuring me as one of their paranormal authors this month and the interview is posted on this link
. You can also meet my editor as she was also featured in a blog. Jessica Wade. Follow the link
One last bit of book news: Look for The Watcher on those “New Release” towers in Barnes & Noble. I’m told it will be there the entire month of December. Hope it means lots and lots of sales!
Some Media bits:
By now, most of you have probably seen the remarkable video of opera singer Paul Potts on the British edition of American Idol called Britain’s Got Talent. If you haven’t though, check this
out. He gave me goosebumps he’s so good. It’s a great story.
One of the writer’s I consider an influence, Ira Levin, passed away last week. The Times wrote: "Combining elements of several genres--mystery, Gothic horror, science fiction and the techno-thriller--Mr. Levin's novels conjured up a world full of quietly looming menace, in which anything could happen to anyone at any time. In short, the Ira Levin universe was a great deal like the real one, only more so: more starkly terrifying, more exquisitely mundane." What more could you ask for—that’s what made Rosemary’s Baby so good. It’s still one of my favorite books.
Marvel Comics unveiled the industry’s first online archive of more than 2,500 back issues. Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited will offer the archive in a high-resolution format on computer screens for $59.88 a year, or at a monthly rate of $9.99, at marvel.com
. Included are the first issues of Spider-Man, X-Men and The Incredible Hulk.
Something close to home: a Fort Collins woman was arrested for stealing more than 3,000 books worth $92,000 from two local Barnes & Noble stores and a B Dalton. During a nine-month period, she took the books four to eight at a time, and sold them on EBay for about $35,000.
Another interesting piece floating around the Internet is this Mercedes Benz SCL600. Before you call your dealer and order one, however, you should know this is a concept car introduced in 1996 at a Paris auto show. It’s not available… yet.
Just thought you might enjoy these pictures of Mario being serious. These were taken at the Colorado Book Awards. The lady to the right (trying to move as far from Mario as possible) is Susan Smith. She’s a fellow Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer, a damned good author who writes under the name Mackay Wood and a judge of the book award contest. She’s probably wondering how in the hell she could have picked this man’s book to be a finalist…. However, the Devil Duck photographs well!
Okay, the following is going to be a sappy bit about what I’m thankful for this year. You can stop reading now, it won’t hurt my feelings.
The disclaimer is that I don’t believe in a Supreme Being. I've seen too much. So when I give thanks, it won’t be with eyes raised or lowered or even closed. But there are things I’m thankful for and here’s the short list.
My family—my rock.
My friends –including many of you who are reading this and many who are not. I have wonderful, low maintenance friends who know I love them just as I know they love me without needing constant reinforcement.
My country—corny but true. We live in the best country in the world. If you don’t believe that, pack a bag. Visit Afghanistan or India or Africa or Pakistan or anywhere in the Middle East. Talk to teenagers in Europe or Russia or Japan. In spite of all the bad press, America is still the land of opportunity.
My good fortune –I’m realizing my dream. After wanting it all my life, I’m a published author. The credit belongs to readers, my agent, my editor and everyone in the family and friend’s list.
So, there it is. To all of you. Thank You.
See you next week.
Bite them apples
I've been on the road a lot lately. I spent most of last week south in the San Luis valley doing research for vampire book 4. I got back in time for the final bout of the Denver Roller Dolls
, the Bad Apples
versus the Green Barrettes
. The epitome of high brow entertainment. It was an evening of organzied mayhem at the Denver Coliseum. With names like Fionna Grapple, Ivona Killeau, Dharma Gedden, and Elle Yeah (with attitudes to match), what's not to love? The awesome photo below was taken by the Official Photographer of the Denver Roller Dolls, DanielK Photography
Jail Bait spent plenty of time in the penalty box for being her usual bad self.
Champion scorer (aka Lead Jammer) for the Green Barettes, Slick Vick.
The half time festivities included an exhibition by the Jumping Eagles, a jump rope ensemble from Chatfield and Columbine high schools. They moved too fast for pictures, but trust me, they were amazing athletes with all their leaping, somersaults, kips, and of course, jumping. Click here to see their videos
Here's the mascot for the Green Barettes, a very thirsty Green Beretta. (when she wasn't cheering her team or sucking down another PBR, GB prowled the stands smacking audience members with her leather crop)
After the brawling and bruising was done, I got this pic of Jail Bait with Jail Bait Jr. (every mommy needs a studded leather choker)
Have a great Thanksgiving. As the Roller Dolls would say, slugs and kisses.
First, my thanks to Kimberly Swan of Darque Reviews
for posting a terrific review of The Watcher and an interview with me this week. You can catch them both at darquereviews.com.
Buffyverse Alum news: An interview
with Nicholas Brendon taken at the 2007 Creation Con in Chicago has some good stuff, including the fact that his stint on Criminal Minds starts November 21. He’s a potential love interest for Garcia, the character played by actress Kirsten Vangsness.
A TVGuide.com article mentions the possibility that James Marsters may join Eliza Dushku and Joss Whedon in the Dollhouse series. It’s only a rumor, but a girl can dream. Click on the link
for the Ausiello video report.
My critique partner Sandy Maren has hit the road for a cross-country odyssey. Follow her travels and comment on her blog
to let her know she’s in our head and hearts. I miss her already.
I need to order postcards for my new book release. Any recommendations?
Glad you made it back home, Mario. We were beginning to worry…
Before we do anything, let us bow our heads and slug someone to mourn the passing of Norman Mailer.
Now on to why we're here. Remember, do your homework for our Bad Santa contest.
If you wondered where I've been, I was gone for a week in California to attend:Men of Mystery, A Gathering of Gentlemen of this Genre. (I'll claim the genre but a gentleman? That's stretching it.) Here is my minder, Peri, and her mom, both devotees of the mystery novel. (Note the yellow and black X-Rated Bloodsuckers buttons. A classy pair, these two.)All of us Men of Mystery had a table of fans. My crew demanded that I open the complimentary bottle of Mystery wine before they let me take a seat.The guests of honor included macho man Vince Flynn and uber-hunk Tim Green (shown here):
Afterwards, north to the Bay Area. (True, the world has plenty of bay areas but the only that counts is San Francisco.) I spent most of my time putzing around the bookstores in Oakland-Berkeley (and drinking). Here are novelists (and fellow drinkers) Marta Acosta (Biting-Edge founder), and Hailey Lind (One half of that sister writing duo.)In Oakland's China town I discovered this rather reserved denim store:If you're interested in becoming an attorney, you could go to Harvard Law School or you could enroll in the exclusive:While Oakland has its charms, San Francisco beckoned and this is an interior shot of Vesuvius, the coolest bar on the entire planet:
Then back south to Los Angeles where I was feted at Cal State-Northridge (courtesy of Dr. Jesus Gonzales) and CSU-LA (courtesy of Dr. Roberto Cantu). They kept asking me brainy literary questions and I kept answering, who do you think I am, Jeff Shelby?
Okay—I guess the first question is: where the hell is Mario? Now before he left, he showed us a picture of his Men Of Mystery escort. Remembering what she looked like, I’m betting we don’t hear from him until spring. Hey, Mario! Come up for air…
My first World Fantasy Con was a blast! Got to pal around with Maria Lima, Denver friends Susan Smith and David Wood who initiated me into their WFC party group headed by John Eccker and Laurien Patten, Carol Berg, Charlaine Harris, Toni Kelner, MaryElizabeth Hart, Robert Buettner, Jackie Kessler (see below) and many, many other wonderful writers. Met my editor, Jessica Wade for the first time. We talked for three hours on Saturday night and shared the banquet table on Sunday. There are some pictures coming which I will post when I receive them.
I’ve got to get a camera….
Now for some media bits:
Fox announced a new X-Files movie reuniting stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson (though I’ve also read reports that she’s not interested. I guess time will tell.) Production is scheduled to begin December 10, but with the writer’s strike, that may not happen. Chris Carter will direct. He and Frank Spotnitz co-wrote the script. Shooting will take place in Vancouver.
The suit against James Frey originally filed by readers for misrepresentation has been settled. As usual, the lawyers were the big winners. Only 1,729 readers applied for reimbursement, which totaled $27,348. Then there’s the $783,000 in legal fees and $432,000 in costs to publicize and carry out the settlement. $180,000 is to be divided among three charities. Random House will include a “warning” in future editions of the book that not all portions are accurate. Frey is said to have earned $4.4 million in royalties so he’s not concerned. And he’s working on a new book to be published this spring.
A 1996 television series entitled Poltergeist: The Legacy is headed back to television. The program follows the work of a secret society known as The Legacy, which protects the innocent from creatures that inhabit the night. It will air on syndication every weekend. I don’t remember the original, but it’s supposed to be based on the movie Poltergeist.
The winners of Gather.com’s First Chapters Romance Writing Contest are a 56-year-old horse farmer and a 28-year-old doctorate student. Both will have their books published next year by Simon & Schuster. The contest was co-sponsored by Simon & Schuster, Borders Group, and Gather.com.
Now for the really good news! Joss Whedon is returning to television with a new Fox series starring Eliza Dushku. Titled Dollhouse, the series stars Dushku who is a member of a group of men and women who are imprinted with different personalities for different assignments. In between tasks they are mind-wiped, living like children in Dollhouse, a futuristic dorm/lab. They have no memories of their previous lives, until Echo begins to try to find out who she was. According to the Hollywood reporter: "Dollhouse" came out of a lunch between Whedon and Dushku in September, shortly after the actress had signed a development deal with Fox and sibling studio 20th Century Fox TV. Whedon was giving her advice about writers and types of shows that might be good for her, but he wasn’t interested in venturing into TV himself because he was trying to get a couple of movie projects off the ground at the time. "In the middle of the conversation, I went, ’Oh, God. I thought of the show, and I had the title,’" Whedon said.
Dushku came on board immediately. Within a week, the show was set up at Fox. Depending on the outcome of the writers strike, the show could be up as soon as next spring or fall. It has been given a seven-episode commitment.
One of the best things about that piece is that Eliza Dushku is smart enough to consult with Joss about her career. Beautiful, talented AND brainy!
Don’t forget the Bad Santa Writing Contest. Since I was out of town, I didn’t see the rules until today. Once again, we have a valuable stash of prizes. And btw, Vicki, I have your Devil Duck! Mario brought it to critique group last week. I’ve been so busy meeting my deadline (YEA), I forgot to mention it.
That’s right, Legacy is on my publisher’s desk! I’ve got about five minutes now before I have to start the next one…
One last bit of promotion. Not for me, but for fellow writer Jackie Kessler
. The second in her series about Jesse Harris, succubus-turned-human, is out now. Check it out!
PS My friend and web master, Jay Salam
, keeps reminding me to let you know launching a newsletter—a very irregular newsletter—with the release of The Watcher the end of this month. I promise it won’t be more than 3 or 4 issues a year so if you’re interested, click the link
and scroll to the enroll button on the bottom of the home page. I thank you. Jay thanks you!
The Bad Santa Contest
It's here, our vaunted literary XXXmas gladiator fight. Many will heed the call but only one will prevail. Only one will emerge standing. Alive. With prizes.Your story must be:1. Original and unpublished. (We at Biting-Edge are not going to hassle with The New Yorker over your copyright.)2. 250 words or less. (Go ahead and try a one-word story, smarty pants. We dare ya!)3. About Santa however you define him, her, or it. (Red suit, beard, ho-ho-ho, alcoholic breath, kids on his grimy lap while he's sprouting a boner (but I digress, I'm over that, really), the creeping around and seeing who sleeps in the nude, etc.,)4. Set in the holiday season (Christmas in other words though Kwanza, Hannukah, Winter Solstice, and Festivus are okay.)4. Include the word "fuck" (Not frig, fug, freakin', boink, bang, the deed, etc.)5. Received by midnight, November 23, 2007. (MST time in this dimension, you fantasy writers.) Submit to firstname.lastname@example.orgAdditional rules:1. The decision of the judges is final (Though we do accept cash or sexual favors as bribes--for a rate quote, ask Jeanne.)2. The winning entry will receive a global post on the Biting-Edge blog and our plethora of prizes. (In case you thought a Nobel was cool.)
So what are the prizes worthy of your sweat and tears from struggling with the Muse? Check out this cornucopia of booty, me Holiday hearties.
And of course, the Treasure of Treasures, the Holy Grail of prizes...a Devil Duck.