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!
Bite me again, next year
We're down to the wire for 2007. It's been a good year. Both Jeanne and I had books come out, and we've both gotten new contracts to keep the good times rolling (and our fingers busy--on the keyboard!)
I'm sure all of us are reflecting on how we can be better at everything. Even the undead have resolutions. This week, I'm the guest blogger and see what my vampire Felix Gomez has to say about being a better bloodsucking killer at The Little Blog of Murder
See you next year! Happy fanging!
I intended to get right up at 5 am and get this blog entry started but then I got sidetracked by Sue Grafton’s newest T is for Trespass. It’s a snowy morning here in Denver and with my coffee and a cozy corner to curl up in, I decided to finish the book. I think it’s one of her best. There were a couple of times when I was screaming, call the niece, but besides that, the story is compelling and for me, hits very close to home. I had a great-aunt who was taken advantage of by a “care giver” and while we don’t believe she was ever physically abused, the woman stole from her and I’m sure threatened her either subtly or overtly to keep quiet about it. It wasn’t until the woman got too greedy and it became obvious she was writing checks and forging my aunt’s signature that we became aware of the situation. Even then, the “bonding” agency refused to do anything about it because my aunt wouldn’t press charges. Like she would. She was a sickly 85 year old. Moral of the story—bonding doesn’t mean crap. Checking references doesn’t mean crap. The sad truth is, there is no way to protect the elderly unless you are lucky enough to find the perfect assisted living facility (and can talk the person into leaving her home) or can take care of the person in your own home (again, providing you can talk the person into moving in.) It’s a lose/lose situation. I’m extremely lucky in that I have an angel of a sister who cares for my own 94-year-old father.
Okay—that was depressing. Anyway, I intended to talk about a fun subject today—Christmas. I hope yours was wonderful. My daughter didn’t join us from her home in Chicago because for the last three months she’s been going through the remodel from hell. Luckily, it did finally get finished but not in time for her to plan a trip. As it was, she may not have made it anyway because air traffic in Chicago was pretty much not happening. But she had her new dog Ali for company and it sounded on the phone like she was reveling in finally being able to cook in her new kitchen and take a shower in her new bathroom. I think I mentioned that after she had to put her cat down, she went to the shelter to donate left over cat food and this wonderful dog followed her home. Here’s a picture. I can safely say, she’s converted completely from being a cat person to a dog person.
So, back to Christmas. My husband and I spent Christmas Eve with some wonderful friends, Jim and Betty Harper and their family. Great dinner, great company, great camaraderie. It was an honor to be included.
Christmas Day found us in the middle of a snowstorm but there was no way in hell we weren’t going to make the trek to our friend Sam Reeve’s house for the festivities. Sam is a chef—not a professional chef, but a chef none-the-less. He even made up souvenir menu. Here it is--well, I intended to post the menu but blogger tells me its in the wrong format. Maybe Sam will send it to me in a jpg file? Sam, do you hear me?
Mario attended as well as an assortment of what we call the Displaced Persons Bunch who are all from different parts of the country and have no family with which to celebrate. No, that’s not exactly right. As another good friend Joanne Hoefer pointed out, we are the family of choice instead of happenstance. I won’t even tell you how many bottles of sparkling wine, beer and other libations we managed to kill off in the course of eight hours but I think it averaged at least two bottles a person. Taken over an entire day of eating, I guess that’s not really so bad.
To wrap things up, here are a few pics from signings earlier in the month in Southern California--first two are at Mystery & Imagination in Glendale, the second are from Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. The Denver launch is still in the process of editing. We don’t really know how to use the new camera yet. Hopefully, they’ll get better. BTW, thanks so much to all of you who’ve bought Watcher and have commented on it. I appreciate it. Numbers have been respectable and again, thank you. Also, a reminder, January I’ll be the topic of discussion on Barnes & Noble Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
loop. Please feel free to jump in and comment on the good, the bad and the ugly.
Oh, and before I forget-- Happy New Year. I hope it turns out to be the best year ever for all of us (hear that Susan?)
Hey sports fans-- Please check in tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel for a Christmas 2007 wrap up.
Hope you are all well and warm.
A Cool Yule, fellow bloodsuckers!
I continued my holiday cheer at the Mercury Cafe
, a Denver restaurant and club famous for their enduring and earnest counter-culture attitude. Their Winter Solstice celebration started with an Aztec dance purification ceremony.
(Colorful costumes and a beat you could dance to but I thought they might want to add some musical variety with a saxophone or Hammond Organ.) The purification was promptly unpurified by hippie-chick dancing to the exotic tribal fusion music provided by Tuatha
Considering that the 25th is right around the corner, I thought we might want to share our favorite worst Xmas gift story. I realize it's the thought that counts but sometimes a gift can be too thoughtless. Once, the in-laws (who else?) gave me a Disneyland belt that was a boy's medium (18 inch waist). Mind you, I can be immature at times but that doesn't mean I wear children's clothes. (Or the in-laws were sending a message in their usual, endearing oblique way).
Everybody have a Merry Christmas
and Happy Fanging!
First of all, something fun! Here’s a letter and a couple of pictures from Ann Cohrs, winner of our Bad Santa writing contest:
Dear Jeanne and Mario!
I just received a box of the most delicious loot! Thank you, and thank you even more for the contest opportunity.
I took a couple of pictures that I thought you might enjoy.
The lil critters take an unhealthy interest in my activities and I phear for my life.
The alien has already found the vial on the necklace. You should be made aware that it was not proper blood. It was Klingon Bloodwine, and the cheeky little bastard drank it right down and has been playing footsie with my boobs ever since. The zombie teddy is looking for brainz.
Curiously, the devil duck seems content to hold up my halo.
Yours Truly in Paranoia
Ann, wandering off to find her mother a Christmas present that will fit in the coffin box ....
Thanks for sharing, Ann! And I think the coffin box makes an excellent Xmas present box. It's small and we all know what comes in small packages...
Remember that limited edition, handwritten and illustrated book of fairytales by J.K. Rowling that was estimated to bring about $100,000 at auction? It actually fetched $4 MILLION. Amazon.com was the winning bidder. The proceeds of the sale will go to charity. Click here
to see a picture and read Amazon's thank you note to Rowling.
Speaking of, J. K. Rowling, Scholastic is ready to launch what they hope will be the next blockbuster series. Called “The 39 Clues,”
this series will be aimed at 8 – 12 year olds and features 10 books — the first of which is to go on sale next September — as well as related Web-based games, collectors’ cards and cash prizes. Rick Riordan wrote the first title in the new series and has outlined the story arc for the next ten installments. The books will be released every two or three months and written by different authors.
I’m just back from SoCal. Here are a couple of pics of signings that took place in Glendale and San Diego:
Mystery & Imagination in Glendale
Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego
Last weekend, was the Denver Book Launch which I must say, went very well. Good crowd, the new book was well received and I think we all had fun. Ron and Nina Else, proprietors of Who Else Books, were wonderful hosts. I will try to include pics next time. Got a new camera (thanks to my pal, Ron Jessee who got tired of seeing my husband run around with a throw-away) and haven't quite figured out how to dowload them yet.
Here’s a link to an interview
Aussie Tez Miller and I did last week. I loved the questions—especially the last one. Never been asked that before! In fact, let me throw that same question out to you-- for which urban fantasy author(s) would you turn gay/straight? Come on, now--fess up!
From Business Digest of December 14--- "Predatory lawyers know they can file ridiculous lawsuits against innocent product makers and blackmail them into a cash settlement - even in cases in which a user has ignored common sense."
Bob Dorigo Jones, organizer of the US's Wacky Warning Label Contest, commenting on this year's winner, a tractor label that warns 'Danger: Avoid Death', as cited by the Metro.
"Avoid Death..." Love it.
Another bit of nonsense. This from the WSJ: According to a survey by a Connecticut wealth-research firm, 75 % of 1,134 people polled with incomes ranging between $30 - 60,000 said they would be "very" or "extremely" willing to marry for money. How much money? At least $1.5 million. How much would YOU be willing to marry for (assuming you would, of course!)
For my Whedon pals-- check out this site
. Lots of pic of Buffyverse cast and crew supporting the writer's strike during Mutant Enemy Day on the picket line.
Quick reminder: January is my month over at the Barnes & Noble online Paranormal Book Club. Stop by and say hello.
Happy Holidays, everybody! Here's my gift to you-- follow the link
for a YouTube I spotted on Marta Acosta's VampWire-- Spike fans-- Merry Christmas!
Our own Jeanne Stein had her book launch for The Watcher
at the Denver Book Mall. What a great turn out, SRO. Jeanne talked about her success with the Anna Strong vampire series, two short stories in anthologies, and two proposals for new series.
Here's Jeanne signing like a mad woman while Terry Wright wonders if I'll PhotoShop him for this blog. (No.)
In keeping with my pre-New Year's resolution of reading more books, this week's offering is Triggerfish Twist
, by the master comic author, Tim Dorsey
This is book four in the series featuring Serge Strong (mastermind petty criminal and hero in a Florida landscape that does justice to the Lisa Nowak legacy). (Are Anna Strong and Serge related?) What is it about Dorsey that makes him such a popular author? One reviewer says his books are like a Marx Brothers movie in fast-forward. Another says Dorsey has uranium for brains. You read and decide (after you stop laughing).
Next week, I'd like you to share the worst Christmas present you ever got.
Until then, Merry Shopping.
What a shock—coming back to Denver last Saturday from San Diego where it was low to mid 70’s to be greeted by 17 degrees and snow. I’ll never get used to it. But as my husband always reminds me, when we moved to Colorado I looked forward to REAL weather. Well, we’ve certainly got that. Real weather. Yippee.
The trip was good, though. Had two signings. One was a solo-- in a great indy in Glendale called Mystery & Imagination. Since I'm from SoCal it's like a high school reunion whenever I go back. There were friends from before I got published, new friends including some I met at Comic-Con this year, and a group of writing students who have a class at the store every Thursday evening. It was so much fun.
The second was held in perhaps my favorite bookstore, Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. Since I grew up in San Diego, high school and college friends as well as co-workers from my various day jobs and new readers who just discovered the series made it a real celebration. That was a holiday party with three other authors: Celia May Hart, Theresa Schwegel and J.V. Jones. It was billed as "something for everybody" and we had fun. I enjoy joint signings. Takes a little of the pressure off! :-)
The rest of the week, I ran around to the big box stores to sign stock and schmooze the managers and employees. It really is work, but well worth it. The reception is always warm and more often than not, there's at least one aspiring writer itching to talk about the business. (My apologies to those of you who may have read this before. It was posted on an e-loop and I’m too brain dead to be original.)
Took some pictures but don’t have them ready yet. I should have them next week. Now I’m just hoping the weather improves this weekend. I have a signing here at the Denver Book Mall Sunday afternoon. Keeping my fingers crossed.
The writer’s strike is still on—Here’s an interesting prospective from Sarah Fain
, a woman in the biz. Thought it was of interest.
Something fun—Joss Whedon vs. JJ Abrams in a battle of fake commercials
This from the U.K. Seems James Bond gives the real M16 recruitment nightmares
because too may crazies want to join looking for a life of “fast cars, fast women and shaken not stirred Martini cocktails.” The license to kill appeals to many, as well. Too many, evidently.
The late Norman Mailer was the first to win the “Bad Sex in Fiction Award
” posthumously. His winning excerpt: “His mouth lathered with her sap, he turned around and embraced her face with all the passion of his own lips and face, ready at last to grind into her with the Hound, drive it into her piety.” From The Castle in the Forest. The Brits do come up with the most interesting awards!
And real life Quidditch
—Timing is good since the fifth installment of the HP movies, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released yesterday. In Middlebury, VT the first intercollegiate Quidditch match was held last month. The broomsticks are held between the player’s legs and the Snitch is a person not a golden ball, but the spirit is there and the participants are willing!
This is for Mario:
It's the Ho, ho, ho countdown
I've got a running start on my New Year's resolution which is reading more books. Just finished a great young adult fantasy, Devilish
by Maureen Johnson
Four-and-a-half Wows. We authors are told to keep our writing fresh (like grocery produce) and Maureen gives us fresh prose by the basketful. To show that talent has no age limits (forwards or backwards), here's the headshot of Maureen that I lifted from her website.
How many of you are in the throes of Holiday gift shopping? Raise your hands. Make it easy on yourself and shop UFO to GO
. Tell your significant other that you could've gotten her (or him) a new car but that seemed way too tacky so you decided on this classy present instead.
this may be the weirdest post I've ever done because I keep losing the wireless connection here in my friend's house. So I'm going to paste what I have and hope I can get it to work before I get kicked off yet again. You'd think I was in the middle of nowhere like Sandy instead of here in San friggin' Diego.
First of all, congratulations, Ann, for winning our Bad Santa Contest. Your entry was great. It turns out that I met Ann in Daytona the last day of the Romantic Times Booklovers convention two years ago. I was in the lobby waiting to go to the airport and sat across from three women who were friends of Laurell K. Hamilton. Laurell had just left for the airport and we started chatting and one thing led to another and in one of those serendipitous moments, I found out that one of the women, Vicki Pierce, was not only returning to Denver, too, but lived about ten miles from me. Anyway, Ann was one of Vicki’s friends and we ended up having breakfast together and talking about writing and life and all things under the sun as writers do when they get together.
I must add, however, that when Ann submitted her entry, she did not include her name so being chosen the winner was entirely fair and above board! Right, Mario? Right? Mario?
Anyway, Ann, you’re fabulous cache of valuable prizes is winging its way to you—including the most sought after trophy in the writing world today—the famous devil duck!
was interesting so I’m reprinting it. Ten movies that were better than the books by David Coddin:
“The Graduate” (1967): Charles Webb's novella has no soul and no style. Mike Nichols' generation-influencing film, which introduced the world to Dustin Hoffman and gave Anne Bancroft the role of a lifetime, had both. Screenplay: Buck Henry.
Cirque Du Soleil
“The Birds” (1963): There's nothing wrong with Daphne du Maurier's novel, but it flat-out can't compete with one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest works. The Bodega Bay setting is breathtaking; the invasion from the sky horrifying. Screenplay: Evan Hunter.
“Shane” (1953): Yes, “Shane” was a novel (written by Jack Schaefer) before it became a film. Today, the book is forgotten. Not the sweeping motion picture, cherished for its cinematography and for iconic performances by Alan Ladd and Jack Palance. Screenplay: A.B. Guthrie Jr.
“Babe” (1995): Dick King-Smith's “Babe the Gallant Pig” was the inspiration for one of the most surprising films of the '90s. It moved and captivated adults as well as children, and it should have won the '95 best picture Oscar. Screenplay: George Miller.
“The Godfather” (1972): No disrespect to Mario Puzo's book, but Francis Ford Coppola's film elevated the story of the Corleone family to a whole new level. Has any American movie since 1970 become as much a part of the cultural lexicon as this one? To his credit, Puzo also wrote the screenplay.
“The Wizard of Oz” (1939): In fairness to L. Frank Baum, whose imagination was legendary, how could his own storytelling compete with Judy Garland, one eye-popping set after another and “Over the Rainbow”? Screenplay: Noel Langley.
“To Have and Have Not” (1944): Ernest Hemingway knew a little something about writing, but it took screenwriters Jules Furthman and some guy named William Faulkner to punch up Papa's 1937 novel. The presence of Bogey and Bacall didn't hurt, either.
“From Russia with Love” (1963): Actually, you could substitute just about any of Ian Fleming's smart but unspectacular James Bond novels here. His Bond is a bore. This film, the second Fleming book adapted, is the most pure (gadget-and gimmick-free) 007 movie. Screenplay: Johanna Harwood.
“Carrie” (1976): Most movies made out of Stephen King novels or stories have failed, at least artistically. One that not only didn't fail, but which exceeds the book in drama and shock value is the 1976 Sissy Spacek vehicle. Screenplay: Lawrence D. Cohen.
“The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming” (1966): I just caught this again recently on AMC and was reminded what a hoot the Alan Arkin-starring film is. The book, called “The Off-Islanders,” by Nathaniel Benchley, pales in comparison. Screenplay: William Rose.
I think I agree with most of them. Can't really discuss it now though or my computer might crash-- What do you think?
Richard Leigh, a writer of alternative history who unsuccessfully sued Dan Brown for themes in his novel, The Da Vinci Code, died on November 30. He was 64. His book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, was released in 1982. In it, he claimed Jesus fathered a child with Mary Magdalene and the bloodline continues to this day. Leigh and co-author Michael Baigent sued Brown's publisher Random House, claiming The Da Vinci Code "appropriated the architecture" of their book. The suit was thrown out because “the ideas in question were too general to be protected by copyright.”
Okay-- I think that's it. I'm in San Diego where the weather is beautiful (mid 70's) and we're staying at our favorite place-- with friends right above the bay. Spending my days signing stock at book stores and preparing for events at bookstores here and in LA. Now if the computer would just cooperate and let me post this, my life will be complete...
Mario here:Lots of great news. First of all, the author of our Bad Santa came forth: Ann Cohrs. What a twisted story from a twisted mind. Something we can admire.
Next, our fellow scribe over at First Offenders
, Lori Armstrong
, got this awesome mention in Publishers Lunch:Mystery/CrimeFormer firearms industry professional Lori Armstrong's RITUAL SACRIFICES, the first in a new mystery series featuring an Army sniper who has returned home to run her family's South Dakota ranch, to Trish Lande Grader at Touchstone Fireside, in a good deal, in a two-book deal, by Scott Miller at Trident Media Group (NA).This weekend I made a workbench. After plucking the splinters from my hand, I went to the Lighthouse Writers poetry and wine party (plenty of both). Then I braved the ice and traffic for a reading at the Lab at Bel Mar, a really cool art venue built by the city of Lakewood. El Laboratorio hosted poet Sheryl Luna and story teller Angel Vigil. Angel shared a fantastic New Mexico tale of a simple farmer who fooled death and got rich. I wouldn't advise his technique.
For the armchair adverturers among you, check out fellow critiquer and nomad Sandy Maren's
wanderings to the end of the earth (she got to Socorro, NM, which is darn close).