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!
Okay—Here’s my first Comic-Con report beginning with dinner on Wednesday night.
Samantha Sommersby, who lives in San Diego, gathered together Marjorie Liu, Carrie Vaughn, her friend Max Campanella, my friends Ron Jessee and Louis Perez and moi at a trendy little restaurant called Parallel 33 in Hillcrest. We chatted, drank, ate and talked about Comic-Con. It was really a nice way to relax our way into the fray.
Thursday was our panel -- Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance: Sub-Genres Readers Love. The above-mentioned authors were joined by Laurell K., Laura Anne Gillman and moderator, MaryElizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy. She did a splendiferous job of giving us all airtime. the crowd was enthusiastic and boisterous. It was the best time I've ever had on a panel.
And at the signing after, I believe we lesser mortals actually held our own pretty well with the illustrious LKH. While EVERYONE in line had a Hamilton book, most also stopped to pick up one or two or three of ours. The signing went from the one hour originally scheduled to almost two full hours.
Which leads me into what I wanted to say about Laurell K. Hamilton. I saw this at RT as well. She will stay as long as there are people in line waiting for her. She’s gracious and accommodating to fans. She was gracious and accommodating to panel members. I understand she had two other signings at the Con and stayed long past the appointed time. She’s a pro in every since of the word.
Friday was my day to wander around and catch panels and skim the exhibitors’ hall. I’ve never seen so many people packed into such a relatively small area. I understand ComicCon is the biggest convention San Diego hosts (estimated attendees 120 – 140,000. Sell outs all four days) but they have it down. They’re second only to Disneyland in the people moving business. And, blessed be, even managed to keep the temperature at a very comfortable 70 or so degrees. Never once felt too cold or too hot. It was great. And I managed to pick up a few things that may show up as prizes in our next contest—like severed fingers, for instance. Almost as good as the Devil Duck.
Saturday got to meet my agent, Scott Miller of Trident Media, in person for the first time. Turns out he’s a comic book fan. Who would have guessed? We discussed, among other things, how Anna would make a great graphic novel character.
Also over the course of the Con, met with several Penguin people including Susan Allison, who is the Editorial Director of Berkley, Tina Anderson, Marketing Director, Anne Sowards, Senior Editor, Erica Colon, marketing (I’m sorry I didn’t get her exact title.) It was nice to meet the people who put Anna on the map. Also, Christina Radish of MediaBlvd Magazine who made me realize what truly hard work it is interviewing stars.
Saturday was also Joss Whedon day—but I’ll save that story until I get the pictures. Let me just say, it was a thrill!!!!
Sunday I was at the Penguin/Mysterious Galaxy booth for my signing. I am happy to report that we sold out all of my books! ☺
So, sports fans, that’s my Comic-Con experience in brief. I’d love to be invited back. I’d go in a heartbeat. If any of you have stories to share, about this Con or earlier ones, please do. The history of the Con is interesting, too, in that the very first couple were held in a basement with 300 attendees. Who could have envisioned what it would become.
The new technology
While Jeanne is no doubt nursing a hangover from her debauched revelry at ComicCon
, I spent this Sunday evening at church taking in wholesome American entertainment. My friend Eric
invited me to join him and watch an old time radio play of Arsenic and Old Lace
at St. Luke's Episcopal Church.
I grew up as a Southern Baptist so imagine my surprise that the potluck buffet included adult libations. We got there late so we missed out on the sacramental vodka but there was plenty of the blessed holy water: beer.
The play, about geriatric serial killers, had plenty of murder and laughs but no graphic sex. (Nothing like the poisoning of loved ones to bring on the chuckles.) Fortunately Eric brought his iPhone where, through the magic of the wireless internet, he found porn.
During intermission, we cruised for cheap thrills on Busty Island
TGI freak'n Friday
Mario here, filling in for Jeanne who is slumming at Comic-Con
in San Diego. For Jeanne, life is very rough this week. (This is not Jeanne by the way)
The question has been asked, what special powers does the Devil Duck possess? Some say they can channel other people through the DD and the channelee
often hears a mysterious faint--and evil--quacking. Has anyone experienced this?
Then again the last time I heard that evil quacking, it was not the Devil Duck but our president on TV! Or was it?
I'd love to hear any stories about your experiences with the paranormal though anything induced by vodka, whiskey, or tequila is not allowed.
Jeanne here-- Checking in to say today's post will be short. Here in San Diego preparing to register for Comic-Con this afternoon, then on to meet with the authors of tomorrow's Urban Fantasy Panel. I'll update Thursday.
I'm more than a little nervous.
Writing the Rockies
I just got back from my first stint as a visiting professor in creative writing. I was invited by Western State College
to serve on the faculty of the Writing the Rockies
writing conference. WSC is in the scenic mountain town of Gunnison (Colorado, of course). Here's a shot overlooking the campus and the valley:
People tend to refer to the area as Gunnison/Crested Butte as if the two towns are conjoined. Crested Butte, or as the local cognoscente say, CB, is a half hour up the hill. It's a beautiful drive but 30 minutes nonetheless unless you drive real fast and then it's only 28 minutes. I drove up to CB for breakfast on Saturday but the cloud gods were on parade and this is the best shot I could get:
Proof of Gunnison's vitality as the urban center in the mountains is this:
The best part of any conference is meeting new people. From left to right are authors Mark
and Kym Todd
, who invited me to the conference. At far right, Laurie Wagner Buyer
, extraordinary poet. The tall reprobate-looking character is W.C. Jameson
, poet, MULTI-published author, song writer, and teller of more, "No bullshit, there I was, me and Waylon Jennings," stories than anyone else west of Austin, TX.
As a special treat, during the screen-writing workshop, we had guest lecturer, Ted Bayouth
, screen name Ted White
, who was a stunt double for Clark Gable and John Wayne, among others. He was also the "toes" double for Rock Hudson, whose feet were too gnarly for a bed scene. More recently Ted was a stunt driver in Tokyo Drift
and The Fast and the Furious
. Check out him out on IMDB
And what would a writers conference be without booze? Nothing! Here is Lauren at The Brick Celler Wine and Martini Bar
keeping our brains properly lubricated and protected against writers block.
Hey there! Happy Friday--
Short and sweet. Anyone going to a Harry Potter party today? If I had a kid, I'd be in line with a wizard's hat on my head and a wand in my hand. My kid would be dressed either as Hermione or Harry--depending on gender and preference. I think it would be a blast.
Interesting stuff from Shelf Awareness quoting a TBRN
A clear majority of children (85%) and teens (78%) plan to clear their schedule this weekend to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows "as soon as possible," while some 71% of adults aim to do the same, according to an ongoing poll of nearly 10,000 readers conducted by The Book Report Network. Respondents have included 4,807 children on Kidsreads.com, 3,912 teens on Teenreads.com and 1,206 adults on Bookreporter.com.
Among other findings: 12% of children said they would read HP7 in less than a day, 17% anticipated it would take two days, and 12% imagined one week. Some 14% of teens said they would read the book in less than a day, 13% a day and 18% in two days. Adults were a bit less optimistic, with 16% saying two days, 14% three days and 18% one week.
An impressive 60% of children indicated they are re-reading the entire series in anticipation of the new book, compared to 44% of teens and 29% of adults.
Oh, to be able to clear my schedule and read all six books in preparation. Those were the days!!
Happy Wednesday Morning. Jeanne here...Comic-Con News
—I’m just going to give you the info straight from the program:
Joss Whedon & Dark Horse Panel : A Peek at Saturday, July 28, 2007 - 4:45-5:45
Dark Horse Presents : Joss Whedon—With the hugely successful release of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 for Dark Horse Comics, Joss Whedon (Fray, Astonishing X-Men) talks about picking up where the TV series left off, his other projects as well as future plans and possibly even a few surprises. A sneak peek from the upcoming Serenity—Collector’s Edition DVD will be shown. Ballroom 20.
"Angel Season 6" Comic Book Preview with Joss Whedon & Brian Lynch for IDW Publishing : Friday, July 27, 11:30am-12:30pm, Room 4
This panel will present an overview of IDW Publishing’s upcoming projects, including an "Angel : Season 6" comic by Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch, as well as updates on the upcoming "Star Trek" and "Transformers" series, and a special announcement of a new title or two, too. Participants include : science fiction writer and co-founder of boingboing.net, Cory Doctorow ; publisher of IDW Publishing, Chris Ryall ; comic writer Mike Baron, screenwriter Brian Lynch, and more.
"The Sarah Connor Chronicles" Tv Series Panel with Summer Glau and the cast of SCC : Saturday - 5:15-6:30
The Sarah Connor Chronicles Screening and Q&A—Catch the first-ever fan screening of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the television incarnation of the Terminator franchise, followed by a Q&A with stars Lena Headey (300), Thomas Dekker (Heroes), Summer Glau (Firefly), and Richard T. Jones (Event Horizon), along with executive producers Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds), David Nutter (The X-Files), and James Middleton (of C-2 Pictures, producers of the Terminator trilogy). Produced by C-2 Pictures in association with Warner Bros. Television, The Sarah Connor Chronicles will air Sundays at 9 PM ET/PT on FOX, starting midseason. Room 6CDEF
And, a little blatant BSP:
Thursday, July 26, 2:00 – 3:00 pm Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance: Sub-Genres Readers Love Where are the borders between urban fantasy and paranormal romance? How did paranormal romance grow from a subgenre of romance to its current popular cross-genre status, and what does the future hold? Authors Laurell Hamilton (Best-selling author of the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series); Jeanne Stein ( Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles); Laura Anne Gilman (The Retrievers series); Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Takes a Holiday); Marjorie Liu (Soul Song); and Samantha Sommersby (Forbidden: The Awakening) talk about love and monsters. Moderator: Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy.
Thursday AA4 3:00 pm - 4: 00 pm
For this panel, there will be a Limited Signing - Drawing for a line ticket at 11:00 am Thursday
Jeanne will also be at the Penguin / Mysterious Galaxy booth on Sunday, July 29 at 11:00 AM
For the week of June 26th, Blood Drive’s release, the book was #6 on the Bookscan Fantasy MMP List. Thanks to all of you who made that happen.
From a Time Magazine
article entitled What Would William (as in Shakespeare) Read:
Janet Evanovich’s reply:
My nomination is the Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 8 comic books, published by Dark Horse. And I don't feel at all guilty about it.
Joss Whedon, the man, the myth, the legend, writes the comic with the same genius as he did the show. The art, penciled by Georges Jeanty, is as faboo as the writing. The clothes are hip, and the monsters are scary--but not as scary as Buffy's personal life, which is (as it should be) a lot harder to conquer than a demon or a vampire. After all, you can always count on wooden stakes to kill a vampire, but you can't prepare yourself enough for the day your sister turns herself into a giant.
I've read all four installments of The Long Way Home, and I'm cracking my knuckles and pacing in my office waiting for more. Buffy is perfect for those moments when you need a little help convincing yourself you could do a push-up if you really tried.
Something fun: Another YouTube
of interest: A guy paid $3,000 to sing “Wild Thing” with the Rock Bottom Remainders during BEA. The money went to charity.
The estate of Ian Fleming has chosen Sebastian Faulk to write the next James Bond novel. The book, Devil May Care, will be published May, 2008.
Harry Potter Countdown—Damn, I can’t believe I haven’t gotten to see the new movie yet! Maybe next week. Like everyone else, I’ve preordered my book and can’t wait to get it! How about those kill joys who are publishing
pirated pages as spoilers? They should be sent to the dungeon straight away. I understand lines are already forming at some bookstores for Saturday’s release!
And, as for that work “ginormous”—it’s a new addition to the Merriam-Webster
dictionary, simply a combination of “gigantic and enormous.” Among other additions: Bollywood, sudoko, crunk and DVR.
Vicki Pierce-- hope you're having fun on that cruise!
La manzana grande
First off, thanks to Jeanne for covering for me while I was in The Big Apple for ThrillerFest
This was my third trip to NYC in the last three years, my annual haj to visit my editor Diana Gill at HarperCollins and my agent Scott Hoffman with Folio. This time I combined the trip with ThrillerFest. Conferences are great opportunities to network and meet new friends, in this case, bestselling authors, the lovely and prolific Heather Graham
and Gayle Lynds
New York City is amazing. Our hotel was right at Park Ave and 42nd, next door to Grand Central Station and the Chrysler Building.
I visited the Barnes&Noble on Fifth Ave where Melissa and Kenya not only had my books but recognized me as the author. How cool was that?
I played hooky from the conference to visit Denver expatriates Jennifer Mosquera
and her boyfriend Rick who have an apartment in Gramercy.
Jennifer is an artist. In this view from her apartment, you can see the spire of the Empire State Building (right of the water tank) and her studio is north of that a couple of blocks.
What trip to NYC would be complete without a visit to Times Square? Here are several local breakdancers about to demonstrate some amazing street acrobatics.
What are your stories from The Big Apple?
And finally, on page 29 of the August issue of Playboy
you'll find a brief review of X-Rated Bloodsuckers
. This magazine has been my source of literary criticism since junior high school.
Paraskevidekatriaphobia: Fear of Friday the 13th
Lest you think we've forgotten you this really Freaky Friday, I think what we have here is a lack of communication. Mario is off at Thrillerfest, in God knows what condition, so it's safe to say, he's forgotten that it's his turn to post.
That said, I've been doing some thinking about our next contest. Any of you have any ideas? We'll have a cache of prizes as ginormous as last time. What's that you say? What kind of word is ginormous? Tune in to Wednesday's blog to find out!!!
Okay—very quiet week on the news front. I’m getting ready to launch my book promo tour here in Denver, then in Southern California. Comic-Con
is shaping up to be a really big deal since Laurell K. Hamilton
has confirmed her appearance on the urban fantasy panel with Laura Anne Gilman
(The Retrievers series); Carrie Vaughn
(Kitty Takes a Holiday); Marjorie Liu
(Soul Song); Samantha Sommersby
(Forbidden: The Awakening); Moderator Maryelizabeth Hart
of Mysterious Galaxy and moi. Will also be doing some socializing beforehand with some of the authors. Can hardly wait!!!
There’s an interview
posted on this link that I did for a blogspot written by May Khaw, a student living in Singapore. I’ve got to say, this world wide web thing is very cool.
Any pre-pubs out there (and pubs, too, actually,) Cynthia Sterling has a newsletter you may be interested in. It’s a free weekly newsletter with market news and opportunities. Send a blank email to the following link to subscribe: email@example.com
So, Mario is off to Thrillerfest and a weekend in New York. I’m sure the town and Mario will never be the same!!!
Tell me your future
First off, let me direct your attention to the review of Jeanne's Blood Drive
in The Denver Post
. Click aqui to check it out.
I need your help. For a book proposal I'm researching what the future will be. I'd like your ideas not only about the yet-to-be invented gadgets but also what will be going on in society.
Last week I watched an Internet video about the futurist Ray Kurzweil gassing on about how the exponential increase in computing power will lead to Utopia.
According to him, by the year 2029 we'll be perfect human-cyborg creatures. Nanobots running around inside our bodies will cleanse us of disease and connect us all via virtual experience. I asked Victoria, barback at The British Bulldog
, her thoughts on this. "Big deal," she said. "We'll all still need jobs."
That's my beef with this rosy-eyed vision of tomorrow. Kurzweil didn't acknowledge the most obvious questions. So all this cyborg stuff is going to get rid of mortgage payments? Idiot bosses? And who's going to program all this future human-computer mind melding? I'm not impressed with our track record so far. Recently the Colorado Department of Revenue had to scrap their new multi-million dollar computer system
for managing vehicle titles and that's brick simple compared to plugging into your brain.
I like the idea of using nanobots to zap tumors. I lost one sister to cancer so I'm all for this technology. On the other hand, most of us can barely afford health insurance, how the hell are we going to pay for this Star Trek medical care? What's the co-pay? A million dollars? (photo from CG4TV.com)
Futurists are like any other experts. They get paid to tell what those in power want to hear. Fifty years ago atomic energy was suppposed to light up the future. Nuclear waste? No problem, if we ignore it long enough, it'll go away. Kurzweil talked about these nanobots fusing into your nervous system and creating virtual experiences indistinguisable from real life. So you're plugged into this virtual net, how will they handle spam? Now solicitors will be inside your brain. It'll be like Futurama!
What's your prediction?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARIO-- YOU DON'T LOOK A DAY OVER 68.....
Jeanne here-- Hope you all had a good holiday. I did. I spent it with some of my favorite people on earth--my critique group. Good food, good fun, good drink. Even the weather cooperated. Warm, not the oppressive heat we've been experiencing.
This afternoon (Thursday) I was interviewed by Christina Radish
Celebrity Editor for MediaBlvd Magazine
. We were on the phone for THREE hours. Christina not only works for the magazine, but she's a photographer with pretty impressive credentials (check out the website) and a novelist working on her first book. I think I asked her as many questions as she asked me. I look forward to spending time with her in person at Comic-Con in a few weeks and I'll let you know when the interview is posted.
And speaking of Comic-Con...Got $5,000 burning a hole in your pocket? If so, how about bidding on a dinner with Joss Whedon
? From ComicBookResources.com : Whedon has joined with Dark Horse Comics and eBay to offer fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a private dinner with him at Comic-Con International in San Diego next month. Beginning on July 2nd and running through July 12th, fans will have a chance to bid on seats at his table. There will be additional offerings as well, including signed editions of Dark Horse’s upcoming "Serenity" hardcover collection. Full details can be found here
. Current high bid: $4100.
And of course, while you’re in San Diego attending Comic-Con you can catch me on the Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance Panel on Thursday, July 26, at 2 p.m. along with Laura Anne Gilman, Carrie Vaughn, Marjorie Liu and Samantha Sommersby, moderated by Mysterious Galaxy’s
illustrious MaryElizabeth Hart.
A few things from the newspaper—
Last week, a Boulder man fell 700 feet from a hot air balloon. Not clear yet is if it was an accident or suicide. What if the guy had been the pilot of the balloon and he invited four enemies and his cheating wife on an excursion only to take them 1000 feet into the air and then bail? What a way to get back at suspected enemies. Grist for a story if I ever heard it!
Another item from the fact is stranger than fiction file—There’s a frozen dead guy
out in Nederland who since 1989, has been stored in a steel coffin packed in dry ice awaiting reanimation. The town even holds a celebration in his honor: “Frozen Dead Guy Days.” Frozen Dead Guy resides in shed next to his nephew’s home. Every month, a relative hauls 1,600 pounds of dry ice to keep the frozen dead guy frozen. With summer here and the cost of gasoline (not to mention dry ice) rising, volunteers are being sought to help defray costs. All that’s required is “a vehicle capable of carrying 2,000 pounds” and a “tolerance for cold and the dead.” Volunteers?
Pearl Buck’s manuscript for THE GOOD EARTH reported stolen more than thirty years ago, has been recovered. The manuscript showed up at the Samuel T. Freeman Co., an auction house. It bears hand written annotations in Buck’s hand and is considered priceless. The person who put the manuscript up for auction is not considered a suspect in the original theft. The administrator of Buck’s estate, her son Edgar S. Walsh, is expected to claim ownership. The full story can be seen here
Another couple of good ol’vampire items. The Rocky Mountain News
posted a “list of lists” on Saturday, June 30. Among them: 4 TV vampires that don’t suck. Want to guess who heads the list and who came in second? Here they are:
3. The Count (from Sesame Street)
4. Nick Knight (from Forever Knight)
I love that Spike came in first.
And if you happen to be looking for new digs—Transylvania’s Bram Castle is for sale
. Its current owner, one of the Hapsburg’s, says he can’t afford to maintain it. This is the one time home of Vlad the Impaler, the medieval warlord who was said to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Price has not yet been determined but take into consideration that gaming in Romania is legal and there’s a ski resort nearby. The possibilities are endless…
Mario and I will be mailing the FABULOUS cache of prizes to our contest winners next week. Gillian Taylor, we are still waiting to hear from you. Perhaps the idea of getting a devil duck of your very own isn’t appealing… No, that couldn’t be. You must be on vacation. On a sailboat. Somewhere out in the South Pacific. With no wireless access.
Happy 4th—Hope everyone is having fun today. Since it’s a holiday, I think I’ll take one, too. See you all on Friday.
PS Gillian Taylor, we still need your address. Send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We're in the middle of the lazy days of summer and I've got that song, Summertime
, by Janis Joplin humming in my head. I've turned in the manuscript for book three which means I'm in between book contracts and I have lots of free time. The bad news is that I have lots of free time and I should have a deadline looming over me. Yikes!
Since it was a hot mo-fo in Denver, my son and I (and the dog) went to play in the water. We don't have a Miami Beach but we do have Confluence Park.
Afterwards I needed to escape the heat and where better than a bar? Rebecca at the British Bulldog pours me a cold Stella Artois.
I blog to Biting-Edge but that doesn't mean I'm cutting-edge in all things. In this case, The Sopranos. Original by Philip Burke, New York Observer
A couple of weeks back there was a lot of hoopla about the final episode but as I don't have cable, I hadn't seen the show. For reasons that I hope to reveal later, I bought a boxed set of the first season for research. It's true! I'm going to claim it on my taxes.
The first episode was okay. By the second episode I was hooked. Now I'm jonseing for Season Two.
What shows are you aching for this summer?