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!
I intended to write a piece about all the good things that happened to me in 2008. Then I wondered if everyone would think it sappy (Mario, in particular.) So instead, your assignment this week is to make your own
list of people, places and things that brought you joy this year. If you want to share, please do.
One thing I will say, though, is thank you. To my family, my friends, my readers. Without you, I wouldn't be here, on this blog, sharing clumsy thoughts about things I enjoy. Not big, important things that affect the world, but the little, inconsequential things that make life worth living.
So, that's it for 2008--
Happy New Year from the supernatural realm
Are we all nursing hangovers or is it just me?
Once again, my artsy friends hosted another blowout: a rockin' Xmas Rock Band party. The theme: the cheesy Christmas Sweater. Here's the winning outfit, not exactly a sweater but no one else beat the cheese factor (notice the red Mexican wrestling boots).Sad news
that I'm sure most of you have heard. On Christmas Day, Eartha Kitt passed away. Most famous to many of us as Catwoman from the Batman TV show.
Eartha Kitt was born Eartha Mae Keith in 1927 in a South Carolina cotton field. From those impoverished roots, she rose to become a top international cabaret star. She wasn't shy about much (once getting booted from the White House for her outspoken views against the Vietnam War), billing herself as excellent and decadent. Among her songs: I Want To Be Evil
, and the delicious Santa Baby
.On the VAMPIRE front:
This last weekend of 2008, I give you the latest The Hollow Fang newsletter
. Read about alien probing, an undead obituary, and ads for getting your black belt in Chow Mein Kick Boxing.
I hope you’re all tucked safe and warm in your homes today—here in Colorado it’s cold and snow threatens and while that is the Christmas ideal, it reads better than it lives.
Anyway, here’s the lowdown for this week—
From the Whedonverse:
"Dr. Horrible" Web Series - Now available with Amazon
Video On Demand.
And another teaser
for Dollhouse along with soothing words that all is well with production.
Something fun--Lock picking
(for crimewriters ONLY, you understand)and here
. These are sites you can easily lose yourselves in so don't go exploring when you have cookies in the oven.
Book stuff: Another note about J.K. Rowling's The Tales of Beedle the Bard. It is now the fastest-selling title of 2008. Reuters
reported that "more than 2.6 million copies sold worldwide in less than two weeks."
Proceeds from sales of the book, which has a global print run of eight million copies, will go to the Children's High Level Group (CHLG), a charity for vulnerable children in Eastern Europe co-founded by Rowling.
A sad note—Gina was the first to alert me to this. Majel Barrett Roddenberry, the widow of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry and an actress whose longtime association with the "Star Trek" franchise included playing Nurse Christine Chapel in the original series, died early Thursday morning. She was 76. From the LA Times
She played the minor role of Nurse Chapel when the series began airing on NBC in September 1966. Roddenberry had another distinction: Beginning with the original series, she supplied the coolly detached voice of the USS Enterprise's computer -- something she did on the various "Star Trek" series.
Speaking of the Final Frontier: LA Weekly
picks Top Five Space Cowboys from TV and Film. Guess who is #1!
Justin Gustainis’ newest: Evil Ways, dynanite sequel to Black Magic Woman is available now! Go here
for an excerpt.
Now go do fun things. I wish you all...
Happy Freak'n Christmas Everybody!
Every family has special Holiday traditions. Decorating the tree. Church pagents. Singing carols. The Charlie Brown Special. Fighting with the in-laws. DUIs.My sons and I had our own tradition: Booby-trapping the Christmas presents.
It started when my boys were still in elementary and threatened to sneak down early to open the presents while I was still in bed. So I strung a trip wire across the stairway and connected the string to a stack of pots on a chair. The trip wire seemed too obvious so I rigged a second trip wire to my oldest son's biggest present. (The string was taped to the present and connected to a stack of tin cans hidden in the Christmas tree.) My oldest son Alex spotted the first wire and let the youngest go first. (What are little brothers for?) But the second trip wire caught Alex. (Try and outsneak dad? Ha!)
The next year, both sons asked if I was going to booby-trap the presents again. I knew I had to be more clever. I scrounged old alarms and buzzers at flea markets. Battery-operated toy blasters were fun to use. I drew upon my army ranger training and made trip fuses with mousetraps and clothespins. By this time, the boys had moved to the basement. I put flour in a pail which I propped over their bedroom door. I set other traps with pressure activated switches (made with aluminum foil--more Army ranger training) under rugs.
My boys proved clever and deactivated most of the traps. The pail over the door they beat by cracking the door open and using a stick to keep the pail from falling over.
Year by year, as my boys grew older and smarter, my traps had to be more clever and diabolical. Eventually, I had to bobby-trap the presents themselves. I wrapped the presents in a larger boxes which contained the booby-traps. (Don't forget the path from their bedroom door to the tree was littered with traps.) The night before Christmas I'd cut open the boxes and set the microswitches. When the boys disturbed the box, the alarm inside would go off. The next year, they beat the trap by sliding a thin piece of cardboard under the box, turning it over, and disarming the switch. But my other traps still got them.
The year after Alex graduated from high school and moved out, the tradition faded.But I've got a new tradition: Holiday Musical Magic!
Over at Soma FM
, from San Francisco, they've put up a Christmas Lounge music channel featuring your holiday favorites (Mele Kalikimaka
) and parodies to include Ray Stevens singing, Guilt for Christmas
(I'm giving guilt this Christmas, just like mother taught me) and Red Peters' Holy Shit, It's Christmas
(Santa's having a jolly year, playing with Rudolph's derriere).Christmas Contest!
Here's a chance to put yet another present under your tree. Amberkatze
is having a Holiday Party with fantasy author Jeaniene Frost.The Good News!
I'm sure you've heard plenty of bad news about the publishing business (like everything else). But two genres are doing well: Romance and fantasy. Read about it at Galley Cat
Like the fat man said, Ho, ho ho!
Any of you watch the night sky the way I do? Venus and Jupiter put on a spectacular display the last few weeks. Here’s a link
that let’s you see the sight from different places all around the world. It’s magical.
If you missed the podcast, and were heartbroken about it, click here
. Diana Gill hosted Jeaniene Frost, Rachel Vincent, Jenna Black and I in a spirited discussion about first books in a series. Go ahead, you know you want to.
And on Dec 23rd, at noon EST I’ll be posting an excerpt from Legacy on Lizzie T’s
12 Hours of Christmas. Here’s the pitch:
Join Lizzie T. Leaf and a lot of her author friends for 12 hours of prizes, excerpts and fun. Opportunities to win every hour. All you have to do to enter is answer the question asked at the top of each hour. After the next question is posted, winners will be drawn from all who responded to the prior question.
Participating authors include, Lizzie T. Leaf, Sloane Taylor, Sam Cheever, Lucynda Storey, Tine Gerow, Renee Knowles, Robin Owens, Melissa Mayhue, Jeanne Stein, Leslee Breene, Cynnara Tregarth, Raine Delight, Tracy Ranson, Eliza Knight, Lena Austin, Bonnie Rose Leigh, Fiona Jayde and others.
In addition to eBooks, print books and whatever the authors throw in the pot, Lizzie will award a “Surprise Prize” to some lucky participant each hour.
Answer the question asked at the top of the hour and you may win a set of books, book cover magnets and pens.
End of paid political announcement…
Two seriously cool trailers for the new HP
coming out in July.
No one is safe. The FBI
is getting targeted by spam—no, Jeff, not the canned meat “product.” But, seriously, wouldn’t you be just a little leery getting a message “from an alleged FBI unit in Nigeria, (to) confirm an inheritance?” Come on…
Here’s something for Leia and Gina—music boxes from old books. We’d discussed books as art and I’d say these qualify. The artist is Jenifer Khoshbin.
I’m not a Stephaie Plum fan but I know a lot of you are so here’s a Xmas card
And one for Fringe
Are you ready for the holidays? I wish I was.
Do You Believe??? If so you can join an experiment that “uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a free program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data.”
From their website: SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is a scientific area whose goal is to detect intelligent life outside Earth. One approach, known as radio SETI, uses radio telescopes to listen for narrow-bandwidth radio signals from space. Such signals are not known to occur naturally, so a detection would provide evidence of extraterrestrial technology.
Sign on here
. I’m not sure I’m ready yet. Just one more excuse to avoid writing. If YOU do, though, let me know how it works. And if you spot something…
From the Whedonverse:
! I presume this is so you can act the stories at home as you watch on TV—I presume. Eliza Dushku’s character, Echo, isn’t up yet.
Whedon on the Friday
night slot (thanks to Carol Malcolm for sending this.) The most important line: "Dollhouse" premieres Feb. 13 at 9 p.m. on Fox.
Eonline clip interview
with Eliza and Joss--
Anthony Head speaking on Dec 10th: Anthony also spoke about the possibility in starring in a spin-off of ’Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ focusing entirely on his character, librarian Rupert Giles.
He added to BANG Showbiz: "It’s long been rumoured. I talked to the writer Joss Whedon the other day because there were rumours on the internet there must be a ’Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ movie coming out after ’Twilight’, but there isn’t.
"But he said he would still like to do this thing with me so it may or may not happen. I would do anything to work with Joss again, he is a really lovely guy and a great creative mind."
Damn. I kept hoping.
Something for Mario—Came in on my website from Casey Grabiel. I know I shouldn’t have laughed, but damn it, I did. Santa, does this mean I get coal in my stocking?
It’s not all bad news
: Samhain Publishing Announces Expansion Plans
In a bold move, Samhain Publishing (www.samhainpublishing.com) announced the purchase of Linden Bay Romance (http://lindenbayromance.com/). In light of the downward spiral of the economy and the rapid consolidation of many of the larger publishers, Samhain Publishing has seized their chance to expand their market share by creating a new fiction line under the popular Samhain brand.
“We hadn't considered selling Linden Bay and we were slowly making inroads with regards to increasing print distribution, but we've found, especially in light of the economy, neither sales teams nor buyers are very open to taking a chance on a smaller, less established press," says Lori James, part owner of Linden Bay Romances. "Samhain Publishing has the relationships in place that would take us years to develop." James continues, "The offer came at a time when we realized under the Samhain umbrella, Linden Bay Romances will be stronger and reach its full potential faster."
"For Samhain, it is a win-win situation," says Brashear. "We will expand our lines with an established name in the electronic book industry and we'll acquire an excellent stable of authors, editors and artists."
Lori is a friend of mine. She reports the bookstore
is still up and running.
Oh, oh!!! Something else
for Mario. He’s always lamenting on his lack of a love life. I’ll bet she’d give him a run for his (life) money. Now if she was wearing red pumps and a bustier, she’d probably have a shot.
I am going to hell, aren't I?
Nothing says Christmas like murder
The Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America
got together for our holiday party at the Adams Mystery Playhouse.
The play was a gritty, noir story of blackmail, jilted love, and revenge. If that wasn't enough excitement, we had a dancing review.
And women going crazy and stuffing money down the dancers' pants.
And a conga line!
Who knew that Denver has a sleuth to rival Sherlock Holmes, the mastermind Detective Bidet? (Here interrogating Beth Groundwater.)It's a book!
Mike Henry, co-director of the Lighthouse Writers Workshop
, had a fabulous book launch party at the Tattered Cover for his book of poetry, No Stranger Than My Own
. During the signing's Q&A, Mike admitted that he wanted a job where he could sit and think and count syllables. He's found the perfect vocation.The death of an icon:
Bettie Page passed away last Thursday at the age of 85. If you think of the 50's as straightlaced, simply google her name. She objected to the appellation The Notorious Bettie Page
despite the occasional wearing of government-issued bracelets.Fang you very much!
If a murder mystery doesn't fill your Christmas stocking, check out Bite Me Magazine
and sign up for their newsletter.EXTRA! Hold the presses! This just in:
Biting-Edge ex-pat Marta Acosta is running a contest over at Vampire Wire.
This is what her guest Meljean Brook wrote.
"So, I just finally accepted that this is what I do: write about various types of dead people falling in love and having wild monkey sex."
And for our dear readers of the feminine persuasion, you can slobber over this man candy on the book cover.Happy Fanging!
Let’s get some personal news out of the way first…
Tomorrow, Thursday the 11th, I’ll be participating in a Pod cast radio show —At 3PM Eastern. Jeaniene Frost, Rachel Vincent, Jenna Black, Patrice Michelle and I will be discussing first books in a series with Eos Executive Editor, Diana Gill. Here’s the link
And you can call in with a question on: 347.826.9684
AND, I found out Friday that I’ve been nominated for a Romantic Times Readers Choice Award—well, actually, Anna has been nominated. Best Urban Fantasy Protagonist! Here’s my competition:
Mercy Thompson - IRON KISSED - Patricia Briggs - Ace (Jan.)
Joanne Baldwin - GALE FORCE - Rachel Caine - Roc (Aug.)
Cat Crawfield - ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE - Jeaniene Frost - Avon (May)
Sookie Stackhouse - FROM DEAD TO WORSE - Charlaine Harris - Ace (May)
Daunuan - HOTTER THAN HELL - Jackie Kessler - Zebra (Aug.)
Anna Strong - LEGACY - Jeanne C. Stein - Ace (Sep.)
Could it be any stiffer??? The good thing is that just being a nominee among those stars makes me feel like a winner.
Now, onto the regularly scheduled program.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard went on sale last week. The Guardian
reported that "Harry Potter fans (flew) into London from as far afield as New Zealand in order to get their hands on J.K. Rowling's new book . . . as early as possible."
The Guardian dubbed Rowling's slender volume "the most eagerly anticipated title of the year, with a worldwide print run of almost eight million copies."Beedle the Bard was not originally intended for mass-market release, with Rowling handwriting and illustrating six copies last year as personal gifts for those most closely connected to the Harry Potter books over the last 17 years. A seventh copy was given to the CHLG, and auctioned at Sotheby's in London, where Amazon acquired it for £1.95m.
In other Rowling news, from Shelf Awareness: Harry Potter and the Revised Lexicon. Steven Vander Ark, whose Harry Potter Lexicon was barred from publication by a federal judge in September, said RDR Books will publish the unauthorized guide to J.K. Rowling's seven novels on January 12. The Associated Press (via USA Today)
reported that Vander Ark claims "the revised version meets specifications for such a book laid out in the judge's ruling."
From the Whedonverse:
True Blood DVD
is not scheduled until May of next year. YIKES!!! And the price, $59.99!! Double YIKES!!!
In a TV Guide Toughest Action Hero Poll, Buffy came in #2 to MacGyver… Huh????
Anyway, here’s the list:
2. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
3. Jack Bauer (24)
4. Sydney Bristow (Alias)
5. Magnum PI
Christian Kane, Angel alum Lindsey McDonald, is starring in the new action program, Leverage
—looks different with all that hair!! Watched the first episode—liked it. Anyone else?
James Marsters is the voice of Captain Argus
in the animated Clone Wars TV series starting on December 5th on the Cartoon network. Love the voice, but love those cheekbones more.
Dr. Horrible made #4 on Time Magazine’s Best of Everything for 2008
In their own words: The writers’ strike, which began in November 2007, was the worst thing to happen to TV in 2008. But the best thing to come of it was this eccentric, tragicomic musical, which — like the strike itself — helped redefine what could be called "TV." Conceived as a strike-time diversion by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), it starred Neil Patrick Harris as the title character, a would-be supervillain applying for membership in the exclusive Evil League of Evil. Whedon released it online, where it became an iTunes smash and inspired a deluge of homemade Evil League of Evil application-videos by fans. Cramming hilarity, heartbreak and high notes into a half-hour, it reminded us that no labor dispute can keep a genius from using his powers for Evil, and for good.
And remember, you can preorder a copy on Amazon
An amusing look (if you aren't one of the writers that took a class in how to write the perfect query) at said new improved query letter from an agent’s prospective: Recently, funny things have been happening in my slush pile. I find myself receiving well-written, correctly formatted, professional-looking query letters from bad writers. Imagine my chagrin: one minute I'm intrigued by a smoothly crafted query letter, the next I'm staring down at a crackpot writing sample. For a literary agent who receives some 5,000 queries a year, this is a disastrous turn of affairs. I feel like those European naturalists who first set eyes on the platypus. Suddenly, nothing is easily classified.
Read the rest of Stephen Barbara’s post here
…and writer’s beware! The story has to be as well written as the query!
From the You Know Things Are Bad in Publishing When: editors are encouraged to open a can of tuna for lunch. The Observer
undertook a survey of cutbacks on lunchtime expenses in publishing. HarperCollins and Random House are eating less expensively. (At RH, "some supervisors were recently given guidelines indicating how much employees should tip and which restaurants near the company's midtown headquarters are thrifty enough to do business in. While the guidelines were advisory, the message was clear.")
How cool is this? Follow the link
to a video of my editor’s dad on the Colbert Report! Nicholas Wade is attempting to clone a mastodon. He also has a book
out, Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost
History of Our Ancestors. The focus is on studying DNA to understand our prehistory.
Since he publishes with Penguin, I asked Jessica if she was his editor. She just laughed.
Here’s what I promised last week:
I love it. Leia, thanks for your efforts to reproduce it last week. Mario happened to have a jpg so that made it a lot easier!!
And Vamprowler’s paperweight. This is one of my favorite desk toys. I talk to it, fondle it, curse at it...you understand. It's a face.
I think that may be it for this week. We’ve got snow on the ground. I guess winter is close. Are you ready for the holidays?
The White Gates
This writing biz can be a real challenge. You think that once you get published, it's easy street. But noooo. Get ready for a big dose of humility and frustration. So it's a real kick when one of us hangs in there and comes back swinging.
Last Friday, our friend and all-around super-cool person, Bonnie Ramthun
, had a signing for her new young adult mystery, The White Gates
, at the classy Colfax Avenue Tattered Cover. As you can see, Bonnie had a great crowd and lots of fans.
Back to the frustration of getting published. The blog buckfifty.org
has this awesome post about a scrapbook kept by Denverite Mary E. Horlbeck back in the 1930s. Horlbeck was an aspiring romance writer and kept a record of her rejection letters (and a couple of acceptances). Check them out and you'll see that despite technology, little else has changed about getting published. These letters are real gems.It sucked but in a very good way.
I saw a vampire movie this weekend. Not that
movie, but the Swedish flick, Let the Right One In
Vampire Eli (played by Lina Leandersson) is one undead bloodsucker you don't want to mess with. (Spoiler alert! No fangs but we got the requisite double punctures on the throat. Also, who knew that cats were vampire protection?) It starts with slow European pacing. Sub-titles. Lingering artsy shots. Falling snow. Lots of people peeing. More falling snow. I think of Swedes as these elegant blonds but in this movie, they're low rent characters straight out of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegone. But once the plot got going, the vampire engine hit on all cylinders. Not teen angst but pre-teen angst. And nudity. And bloody kisses. And obnoxious teenagers dismembered and decapitated. (Those parent-teacher conferences must be a bitch.) Plus severe reactions to sunlight. All you creatures of the night, wear SPF40 or higher.
Hi all—Hope you had a wonderful holiday. Our was just what I’d hoped—my daughter and sister were with us as well as good friends (most California transplants like us.) Naturally, I forgot to take pictures BEFORE we started eating so all you can see are the ruins. Now that the house is empty again, it seems WAY too quiet.
I know it's too small to see, but if you look to the right of the china cabinet, the painting on the wall is by none other than my distinguished blog partner. If I wasn't so technically challenged, I'd blow it up...well, not literally of course.
We had a four legged visitor, too-- Alli is a rescue dog who belongs to my daughter. She was a perfect house guest!
A few items of interest (at least to me) in the news. As "a tribute to American booksellers, librarians and educators who supported" The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, Penguin Group built and opened a primary school in Afghanistan, about 150 miles from Kabul. Working with the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR and the U.S. Association for UNHCR, some 270 students in grades one through six are attending the school. Before it was completed, the students, a third of whom are girls, were taught outside. Makes me proud to be a Penguin author!
The 2008 Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Prize
went to Rachel Johnson for her novel Shire Hell, according to the Associated Press (via USA Today). "All the passages this year are equally awful, but Rachel Johnson's struck us because of the mixture of cliche and euphemism. There were a couple of really bad animal metaphors in there."
Animal metaphors? John Updike was awarded the lifetime achievement award for winning the dubious honor four times in the past. He was a finalist again this year for “an explosive oral encounter in his latest book, The Widows of Eastwick.” He lost to Johnson. She must write really BAD sex.
I almost hate to ask this—any of you out there have a favorite BAD sex scene you’d like to share?
Saved the best for last—or next to last---some BSP coming up.
If anyone has NOT yet seen the great Dr. Horrible check this
out. Not only can you view the video here, there’s a direct link to Amazon to order it in time for Christmas!!! How awesome is that? I loved it…
AND check out the rumors of a proposed Buffy film here
. Now THAT would be a great Christmas present…recession, depression, market dumps…nothing could ruin my mood if this proves to be true!!!!
Now for the BSP:
If you’re in the area this weekend, please stop by the Neighborhood Book Store in Littleon. It's an anniversary celebration but also a fundraiser for the Littleton Public School Foundation. Get good Santa credits and do your Xmas shopping at the same time! I’ll be there Sunday afternoon and here’s the full schedule:
Neighborhood Book Store
5661 S. Curtice St.
Littleton, CO 80120
ph: (303) 730 3682
Friday, 5-8 p.m.:
Laura E. Reeve
J. Troy Seate
Saturday, 3-6 pm:
Sunday, noon to 3 p.m.
Jeanne C. Stein
I’ll end with this pic of EPPIE award winner Cher Gorman
, a fellow Denver author, and me at lunch the week before Thanksgiving. Good pal Margie Lawson
got us together. It’s always fun to meet other local authors.
PS Our mysterious Lord X is still unaccounted for. Where in the world is he?????