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!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Good morning all—

Starting out with plugs for two fellow scribes writing in our genre of choice.

First, Anton Strout and his new book Dead To Me—here’s what my pal Charlaine Harris had to say:

“Simon Canderous is a reformed thief and a psychometrist. By turns despondent over his luck with the ladies (not always living) and his struggle with the hierarchy of his mysterious department (not always truthful), Simon’s life veers from crisis to crisis. Following Simon’s adventures is like being the pinball in an especially antic game, but it’s well worth the wear and tear.”

On top of being a good writer and a fellow Ace author, Anton is a good guy—what more could you ask?

Second, Mark Henry’s Happy Hour of the Damned. From Jen Lancaster:

"Happy Hour of the Damned - is it a comedy? An urban fantasy? A whodunit? Who cares! Mark Henry's written such a clever and engaging story that fans of any genre will totally adore it. Amanda Feral is the freshest, funniest character to come out of fiction since Bridget Jones and my only regret is she's not real and we can't go out for drinks. (Because, really? Zombies are the new black.) In short? I loved this book!" --Jen Lancaster, author of Bitter Is The New Black

For your ordering convenience, this link takes you right to Amazon where both books can be purchased together for a bargain price.

Also, I should mention, we are all members of a community of writers called Fangs, Fur and Fey—something else you might want to check out in your spare time!

Interesting tidbits from the week include an article in The Telegraph—Fifty Crime Writers to Read Before You Die…. Is your favorite among them and if not, who is your favorite?

For anyone who has ever been zinged by a bad PW review, the publication is for sale. Before you break out your checkbook, though, Shelf Awareness notes that Reed Business Information, parent of PW and several other publications, had revenue last year of $1.7 billion (with a B.) Might be out of the financial reach of most.

From a Buffybud: My Own Kind of Freedom (a Firefly Novel by Steven Brust) has been released under a creative commons license. You are free to download it and share it with your friends as long as it is not used for commercial purposes. She hadn’t read it yet, and I haven't had time either, but a friend of hers said it was like watching a Firefly episode.

Harlequin has started posting 20-minute Meet The Editors podcasts. From their release: “Meet the Editors brings the personalities of the various Harlequin Enterprises editors to the fore and offers listeners the opportunity to get to know the people that shape the books they love to read." New episodes will be added every two weeks.

From Shelf Awareness: What do Pride and Prejudice, the Lord of the Rings series, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Da Vinci Code and Gone With the Wind have in common? They are the top five "best-loved books" as chosen by Australian readers in a survey conducted by the book chain Dymocks. News.com.au reported that the Dymocks Booklovers 101 list indicated that Aussie readers "prefer timelessness and romance to reality."

What about it, Tez?

Also from Shelf Awareness: In another publisher experiment making material available at no cost on the Internet, Random House began offering the entire text of Beautiful Children, Charles Bock's debut novel, for free online as of 12:01 this morning until midnight on Friday, Leap Day. Readers will be able to share, e-mail or print the text, which is available as a PDF download at beautifulchildren.net/read. In cooperation with Random, Amazon.com, B&N.com, Powells.com and Northshire.com are making the file available to their customers.

A local sad story: Cynthia Nye, owner of High Crimes Mystery Bookshop in Boulder, is closing her brick and mortar store in March. She will continue to sell books online.

If you are an aspiring writer looking for market news, check out Cynthia Sterling’s market newsletter. In the latest edition you will find: Info on Harlequin’s new Black Star Crime mystery series, Silhouette Nocturne, and Idea Weaver Writing (looking for dog stories.) Always good stuff. Anyone can sign up by sending a blank email to her at: cynthiasterling-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

To zip things up, got the cover for the large print edition of Many Bloody Returns. It’s out next month.

Hope to see some of you at Left Coast Crime next week. I’ll be on the panel "Shaken, stirred, blended: Nontraditional sleuths in stories that cross genre lines" on Friday afternoon at 1:15 as well as in the Endless Conversation room Sat 2:15 – 2:45. Mario will be all over the place, but mostly in the bar. Come on up and say hello.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
  Ray Harryhausen, this one's for you
Mario here:

Busy, busy week. Capped it by attending a signing by two of my favorite authors, Carol Berg and Robin Owens. The signing celebrated the tenth published book by each author.

Left Coast Crime 2008 is now less than two weeks away. I'm the emcee on the Mile High Murder Machine, a bus tour of Denver murders. I spent a good part of the week getting the lowdown of the gruesome deeds. My favorite is William Neal Cody, currently on death row for killing three women in an ax-murder rampage.

Ladies, he's still available.

Another tale of woe is the death of 3-foot 10-inches-tall crack whore Belinda "Lil Bit" Bridgmon, found boxed in a Dumpster off Colfax (the Main street of Denver). We have a dead dwarf and guess what was the name of one of the responding police officers?

Give up? Snow White. Don't believe me? Check it out in WESTWORD. File this under, you couldn't make this up.

Part of the fun was delving into the seedy trivia of our fair city. Here's what was corrupting our youth back in 1959:

On the subject of movies, visit what's being called The Greatest Book Trailer of all Time (in our household):

My son Emil was the stop-motion animator and wizard of techie stuff.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I’m going to get all the BSP over with in the beginning. Here’s the German cover for The Becoming, which they renamed: Seduction of the Night. OOOOO—I like it! What do you think?

Secondly, I picked up my mail yesterday and was thumbing through the new Comic Con magazine and on page 46, there was The Watcher book cover!!! Right there! I couldn’t believe it. It was in an article written by Mysterious Galaxy’s Maryelizabeth Hart about what she was reading. Too cool… And thank you, Maryelizabeth.

And third, here's a pic sent by Tez Miller. Couldn't resist.

Now, on to the news of the week.

From Shelf Awareness: “Tim Toone's quest to acquire a first edition of every version of J.K. Rowling's works may earn him as much as £40,000 (US$78,061) on February 28, when his collection of 553 books goes up for auction. The Edinburgh Evening News reported that Toone owns copies "in 63 languages, as well as Braille, Latin and ancient Greek versions of the books."

"No one has ever amassed such a collection. It's almost obsessive," said Roddy Newlands of Bloomsbury Auctions.

Almost obsessive? I’d be curious to know why he’s selling…

Prolific and popular romantic suspense writer Phyllis Whitney died. Her first hardcover book was published in 1941, a YA called “A Place for Ann.” She switched to adult mysteries in 1955, publishing her last book in 1997. She wrote 75 books and about a hundred short stories. She was 104 when she died.

Nicolas Cage filed suit against Kathleen Turner over her depiction of him as a drunk and thief in her new autobiography “Send Yourself Roses.” Turner has apologized though she says, “this is what I remember…”

I couldn’t find this article, but it was supposedly reported in India’s Business Standard that the Chinese government has decided to supply 165 million students with e-readers to avoid the cost of physical textbooks… sounds like a plan to me.

One last thing—I mailed Jay and Lori their prizes for the haiku contest, but don’t have addresses for Lepeu63 and Brenda. Come on, don’t tell me you don’t want something from us….everybody wants something from us.

Which reminds me—Jay, I should have added to my note to you that the book we sent is purely an entertainment item. The vampires depicted are fictional and evil and bear no resemblance to real vampires living or undead.

Okay. I lied-- THIS is the last thing-- I just sent out the second issue of The Jeanne Stein Irregular-- a newsletter. This is your invitation to get on the mailing list. Click on the link to my homepage and scroll down. Thank you, in advance.

PS Thought of something else-- the Lunar Eclipse is tonight(Wednesday)! Should be quite a show.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
  Literary zombies
Mario here:

Congrats to our winners of the official Biting-Edge Quick and Dirty Valentine's Day Haiku Contest. We love the way your demented minds work.

Yet another contest to plug. The deadline has passed but the concept is brilliant. Muareen Johnson, whose book I reviewed on this very blog, announced this totally freakin' genius contest. Select a favorite passage from a book and insert a zombie.
Contest rules are HERE.

Jeanne Stein and I convened a special study group of the Biting-Edge contest geniuses and demanded at gunpoint, I mean, cajoled politely, that they develop a new contest.

It's in the works though it would be hard to beat the zombification theme. But we will. Or the project manager gets it.

So what is it with zombies? They're everywhere. And they are not cool. You be the judge. Which would you rather hang around with?

Lady Wonder Bra on the left or Mr. Dumpster Breath on the right?

How much you wanna bet there's a zombie behind the wheel of the golf cart below?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Okay, sports fans—the day you have been waiting for! The winners of The Biting Edge First Annual Quick and Dirty Valentine Haiku contest are:

Second Runner-up:

Foraged in the dark
His hands all over my mouth
Other end dumb ass

Posted by: Vamprowler

First Runner-up:

Made-up holiday
Created to sell more crap
No gift, no nookie

Posted by: Lepeu63

And the Grand Prize Winner:

(Drum Roll Please)

I bought her roses.
I bought her heart-shaped chocolates.
Can I get laid now?

Posted by: Jay

Honorable mention for an elegant entry by Brenda:

Love slashes my Soul.
I'll take One Lust, please, to go,
and one cuppa joe.

Reminds me of an old Bogart movie.

Good job one and all! It was not easy picking winners. In fact, you all deserve a prize. Some were downright poetic (the one’s Mario didn’t like and I did.) But in all fairness, the theme was quick and DIRTY…

If the winners will please send mailing info to Mario we'll get your prizes on the way--

Next assignment: Start thinking about an opening paragraph or two for a story with the theme Hot Flesh and Cold Fury-- Contest details coming soon
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Of course, the BIG news is that tomorrow we are announcing the winner of our Quick and Dirty Valentine Haiku contest. Now Mario was disappointed that there weren’t enough entries that had sex in them and NONE that used the f word. But we had so many good entries that we once again, had to go to our panel of impartial judges and get opinions. Which didn’t help much either because everyone chose different a Haiku as his or her favorite.

As a result, the winner and two runner-ups will be named. Runner-ups will get magnets and pins and maybe some other junk-er-valuable prizes to be determined later. No devil duck, though, that’s reserved for the GRAND PRIZE winner.

Odds and Ends from various loops this week:

The heirs of J.R.R. Tolkien are suing New Line Cinema, the studio that released the Lord of the Rings trilogy, claiming they haven’t been paid a dime of the $6 billion the franchise made worldwide. Now, I’ve heard how studios use creative financing to “prove” a movie hasn’t made money, but really—this is going to far!

Want a nude Sarah Michelle Geller to hang on your wall? Hop on over to Ebay and take a look at the photographs being auctioned off for charity. The photos are from a Vaseline Ad photoshoot and the article notes that she wasn’t really nude, the little black dress she was wearing was digitally removed.

A new sci/fi series called Sanctuary (starring Stargate’s Amanda Topping) is filming for a fall 2008 Sci-Fi channel debut. Watch the pilot at this link.

And you’ve got to love snarky British humor. This from The Guardian: How to Avoid Author Scandals by Levi Asher

1 Do not use the word "memoir" unless you mean it.

2 If you're not sure whether what you're writing is a memoir or not, guess what? It's a novel.

3 No more than half a page of plagiarism per book.

4 Don't make up exact dates that you can't remember. Instead, be general: "The most important day of my life was the day of my son's birth, in the summer of 2005 . . . "

5 Just say no to sending a friend out in public with a wig as you.

6 If you're in a flame war and you're about to go sock puppet, take a 10-minute break and go to a coffee shop without a wi-fi facility. Maybe the walk will cool you down.

7 Go ahead and make up dialogue. Everybody except Tom Wolfe does.

8 Pick a name. "Benjamin Black is John Banville" is just not a good look.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
  Last chance
Mario here:

It's your last chance to submit your haiku for our Quick and Dirty Valentine's Contest. We've got some great entries. One comment has been that considering our contest has a Valentine's theme--the most romantic day of the year (next to Guy Faulks Day)--we haven't got enough poems about sex. Shake up your libidos and share.

We at Biting-Edge are all about BSP--Blatant Self Promotion. To that end, fellow mystery novelists Bonnie Ramthun has her new young adult thriller coming out, The White Gates. Check out her book trailer.

Now for the local news (and different white gates):

On the way home today from the local coffee shop (not that local as the local one closed), some guy veered off the sidewalk toward me. A little background about where I live. Five Points, Denver. Despite the half-million dollar townhouses and lofts, it's ghetto. The rescue mission is six blocks away. I've found drunks sleeping in the weeds behind the Dumpsters. Instead of rising to the sounds of chirping birds, we're awaken by car alarms and police sirens. But it's home. Anyway, this guy approaches and asks if I want to buy some coke. This was 3PM. Do I look like a coke fiend? I can barely afford pizza. Any of you have weird stories about your neighborhood?

Back to Valentine's Day. For those of you without a sweetie this Thursday, I feel your pain. How about this place for a classy bout of rented love?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Happy Chinese New Year! 新年快乐!

How about this for a reason to party?

Yesterday was Fat Tuesday AND Chinese New Year’s Eve. This happens to be The Chinese Year of the Rat—and the Chinese Year 4706.

Rat ranks number 1 in the 12 calendar animals:

There is a related story for children. Once the God of Heaven wanted to choose 12 animal names as the sequence of the calendar. He announced to hold an animal racing to determine the order. When the racing date is closing, Cat forgot the time and asked Rat the schedule. Alert Rat gave Cat the wrong time on purpose. Smart Rat stayed on the horn of Ox while crossing the river, then jumped over the bank to reach the final line to win the champion. Cat missed the racing time and swear to kill Rat for generations. That's why Cat always chase Rat forever.

Here is my New Year's gift to you--the red envelope symbolizing luck and wealth:

Lost is back! Here’s a link to catch up if you missed the two hour prequel last week.

Margaret Truman died. That old proverb about living in interesting times certainly applied to her. I was not fond of her books, but I admired her moxy. She was a concert singer, actress, radio and TV personality and mystery writer. She was 83.

And one last time: This is the last week to get into the Haiku contest. Competition is stiff but don't miss out on a chance to win a fabulous cache of valuable prizes!!! Deadline is Monday the 11th.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
  One week
Mario here:

One week. That's all the time you got. One more week and our Quick and Dirty Valentine's Haiku Contest ends. We've got some great entries. There's still time to gouge into that remorse and heartache. Give it to us...right HERE

Thanks much to everyone supporting Patry Francis' Blog Day. Because of you, her book, The Liar's Diary, hit #1 in the Amazon mystery category.

As one of their fund raisers, CHAC, the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council, is sponsoring their annual Milagros del Corazon auction. CHAC asked local artists, including me, to donate a heart-themed piece. Here's my contribution: there's a little devil in every heart

Here are shots from the last First Friday Art Walk activites.

Besides gallery tours, there was a dragon:

Dancing in the snow:

Afterwards, I attended the inaugural The Square Lounge...a place for others performance at the Dazzle Jazz Club. We had music, comedy, the Square Lounge Hagettes:

And a guest appearance from Frida Kahlo:

I teach a genre novel writing course at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop. One of my students has a blog and here is her essay The Panty Drawer Dictionary. Enjoy.

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