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!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Post Turkey, pre-Xmas Fanging!
Now that Thanksgiving is in the rearview, we are officially in Holiday mode. I've even put lights around the window. A preview of the glad tidings:
Unfriend verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.
OED had other nominees: intexicated, netbook, sexting, freemium, birther.
Any suggestions that should've been on the list? If you're on Twitter, then you probably dig on the recommended addition, sh*tter, meaning someone who posts anything and everything.
I recently got an email from the bloggers over at Project Fanboy. They're self-proclaimed geeks, in fact, they brag they're the Baddest Geeks of all. They found me and wanted to say they posted a review of Jailbait Zombie, which you can read HERE.
Turkey and all the trimmings...I hope you don’t get around to reading this until Friday or Saturday because you’re off celebrating thanksgiving. In that spirit, I want to say a personal thank you to Leia, Gina, Dottie, Vickie and Lady K, Suzi and the Tot, Michelle and RK who comment regularly, as well as all the lurkers who drop by to see what’s up—Mario and I appreciate you.
I want to say thank you to my critique group: Mario, Warren, Margie, Tom, Tamra and Terry. They have made me a better writer. And to the community of writers at the Reluctant Adults League and Fangs, Fur and Fey and RMFW who are always there for support.
I want to say thank you to my sis and bros and cousins (that means you, Ed) and Leslee and good friends Ron and Sam and Clay and Joanne and Suzy and Dennis and Jay and Patty and Betty and Jim.
I want to say thank you to my husband and daughter. My life is richer by far because they are in it.
I want to say thank you to my readers. Without you, I wouldn’t be here doing this today.
I don’t say thank you often enough. This is the day for it.
Now, on the off chance that there might be one or two of you looking for something besides football to pass the time digesting, here’s a few items that caught my eye this week.
Mario already mentioned the Harlequin fiasco. If you want a clear, concise recap of what’s going on, Jackie Kessler offers one here.
Darwin book found on bathroom shelf makes $171,000
LONDON, Nov 24 (Reuters Life!) - A first edition of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species", which had been kept in a bathroom bookcase for years, fetched 103,250 pounds ($171,000) at auction on Tuesday, around twice its pre-sale estimate. Christie's auctioneer offered the book at a sale held on the 150th anniversary of the evolutionary work's original publication.
The copy was bought by the family of the current owners for "a few shillings" over 50 years ago, the auctioneer said.
The vendor's son-in-law recently visited an exhibition on Darwin where he saw another first edition on display. He realised it was the same work as that in his father-in-law's guest bathroom, and it was duly offered for sale.
51-year-old Bill Sparkman was found this month hanged from a tree near a cemetery with the word "fed" scrawled on his chest, a law enforcement official said Wednesday, and the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment.
Bill Sparkman, the Kentucky census worker that was found dead hanging from a tree, has had his death ruled a suicide. Authorities released the results of their investigation and found that Bill Sparkman manipulated his death scene to make it seem like something other than a suicide.
Probably the saddest thing I read this week...
Now, the Catholic Church is weighing in on Twilight:
Twilight Saga: New Moon is ‘moral vacuum’, says Catholic leader by Christian Today reporter
Posted: Sunday, November 22, 2009, 12:20 (GMT)
The latest instalment in the vampire movie series Twilight is a “deviant moral vacuum”, according to the Vatican.
In New Moon, British actor Robert Pattinson returns as the blood-sucking vampire Edward Cullence in love with the beautiful Bella Swan.
The movie has already broken box office records as the highest single-day earner after pulling in $62.2 million on its opening day.
Monsignor Franco Perazzelo, of the pontifical council of culture, said on Friday that the theme of vampires in Twilight “combines a mixture of excesses that, as ever, is aimed at young people and gives a heavy esoteric element”.
“This film is nothing more than a moral vacuum with a deviant message and as such, is something, that should be of concern,” he said.
Last month, the Vatican warned parents that Halloween was had an “undercurrent of occultism” and was “absolutely anti-Christian”.
The Vatican advised parents instead to “direct the meaning of the feast towards wholesomeness and beauty rather than terror, fear and death”.
First Halloween, then Twilight? What’s next?
However, it is the perfect segue for this:
Sister Catherine and Sister Helen, are traveling through Europe in their car. They get to Transylvania and are stopped at a traffic light.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a tiny little Dracula jumps onto the hood of the car and hisses through the windshield.
"Quick, quick!" shouts Sister Catherine. "What shall we do?"
"Turn the windshield wipers on. That will get rid of the abomination," says Sister Helen.
Sister Catherine switches them on, knocking Dracula about, but he clings on and continues hissing at the nuns.
"What shall I do now?" she shouts.
"Switch on the windshield washer. I filled it up with Holy Water at the Vatican ," says Sister Helen .
Sister Catherine turns on the windshield washer.
Dracula screams as the water burns his skin, but he clings on and continues hissing at the nuns.
"Now what?" shouts Sister Catherine.
"Show him your cross," says Sister Helen.
"Now you're talking," says Sister Catherine.
She opens the window and shouts, "Get the fuck off the windshield!"
I started out so well… Now I think I’m going to hell…
I started with a sappy ( but sincere) bit about being thankful and I’d like to end with another one. Author Kathleen Delaney blogging over at Buried Under Books. If you think you have nothing to be thankful for, think again. As Kathleen says, you’ve had your flu shot, the refrigerator is full, and you don’t have to pluck the feathers off a turkey…
Be safe out there. If you want share pics of you TG feast, send them to my website and I'll post them. I plan to do the same....
Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good night!
posted by Jeanne Stein @ 5:22 AM15 comments
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Harlequin has long been known for their steamy covers but now they're getting heat they'd rather not have. In case you haven't heard, the big news in the publishing world is that Harlequin is getting roasted over its decision to start a vanity press. In fact, both RWA and SFWA have delisted Harlequin as an approved publisher and MWA has issued a statement expressing regrets with possible delisting in the future. For an excellent analysis about why Harlequin's move is such a bad idea, visit fellow fantasy author Jackie Kessler's blog.
It's a shame, because I know several wonderful authors who make their living writing for Harlequin. Weigh in with your opinions.
As an appetizer for her forthcoming release to be released this Tuesday! Kelly Meding gives us a taste of her wit and imagination with her story The Hoarder, now available for free at SUVUDU.
We here at Biting-Edge global headquarters earn our street cred by inventing tales of the fantastic. So when people tell us they pay their bills chasing ghosts and talking with the dead, we're all over that news. So float on over to 3042 Mountain Sky.
The Literary Review posted its Bad Sex in Fiction Awards. Check out this passage from from Black Swan Green by David Mitchell.
"Tom Yew got on her and sort of jiggled there and she gasped like he was giving her a Chinese burn and wrapped her legs round him, froggily. Now he moved up and down, Man-from-Atlantisly. His silver chain jiggled on his neck. Now her grubby soles met like they were praying. Now his skin was glazed in roast pork sweat. Now she made a noise like a tortured Moomintroll. Now Tom Yew's body jerkjerked judderily jackknifed and a noise like a ripping cable tore out of him. "
jerkjerked judderily jackknifed? Okay, maybe this passage does something for you. Jeanne? Don't let me judge.
Since Biting-Edge is about vampires and though Stephenie Meyer doesn't need a boost from us, we have to report that New Moon set box office records this weekend, knocking Batman off his The Dark Knight bat-perch in opening day receipts. Anyone see New Moon? Fangs up? Down?
Have to apologize to you, my friends. I’m doing the National Write a Novel in a Month thing and have not spent the time I usually do looking for interesting tidbits to share. Instead I’ve actually been (gasp) writing! Now the goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. I’ll be happy if I write 20,000 (I just went over the 10,000 word mark.) I’m working on the seventh Anna book, untitled at present. That’s odd in itself since I usually have a title picked before I start the book. In any case, joining the hundreds of thousands of other writers doing this crazy thing has been fun and great incentive to keep that butt in the chair.
Anybody else participating? How many words have you written?
I do have a couple of things, though. For your viewing pleasure, an Elvis impersonator serenades Charlaine Harris at the Tru Blood And Gold Party in New Orleans on October 30, 2009.
And some eye candy—My membership card to the Naked David Boreanaz Club.
This club was founded by Marta Acosta and if you go to her blog, Vampire Wire, not only can you request membership for yourself, but you get to read a great interview by pal Molly Harper. There’s a contest, too, and prizes will ensue.
Now, no one is denying that a naked David Boreanaz is pretty nice, but my question is, who is going to start the naked James Marsters Club?
When I posted this to The League of Reluctant Adults, I was chastised for not including something for the men. So, here’s a possibility for the Naked Sarah Michelle Geller Club.
Okay. Back to earth. Mario and I think it’s time for another contest. This time, we want your input. What kind of contest should we run? Come on—give us your ideas. If we use yours, you get a prize, too.
PS Tonight New Moon opens....so come on...fess up. Who's going?
PPS Mario just sent this to me-- He's being interviewed on Bitten by Books here. Check it out if you dare.
posted by Jeanne Stein @ 4:19 AM19 comments
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Writers mano a mano!Mario here:
Ever wonder what happens when authors don't make nice at a signing? It can look like this:
Cover LoDo was not only well attended but also violence free. Jennie was here from Seattle to promote her newest book, When She Flew, an awesome novel about a Portland police officer torn between duty and compassion when she investigates an Iraq war vet and his daughter living in the woods.
Publishers Weekly says: "Examining people willing to sidestep the rules in pursuit of a greater good, Shortridge's fourth novel recalls Barbara Kingsolver's Pigs in Heaven..."
More weekend author hijinks included the Eclectic Mike in the Northglenn Borders, hosted by the talented Dave Jackson, seen here about to give his pipes a workout.
RudyG turned me onto this awesome blog, scifilatino.com, run by Sophia Flores.
The blog includes this great video of an attack by giant robots (how cool is that!) on the Uruguayan city of Montevideo. And you thought the aliens only had it in for us yanquis. Plus, this video was made for $300! Pixar, eat your heart out.
Last week Jeanne showed us some Brad Pitt eye candy. I know that women also have the hots for Benicio del Toro. In this trailer for The Wolfman he's not aways easy on the eyes, unless you love furry nasty critters.
And coincidentally, my fifth Felix Gomez comes out in March and it's vampires against lycanthropes. Bring Alpo.
This week-- things that caught my eye in the paper.
Marines 234 Years
Sesame Street 40 years
Destruction of the Berlin Wall 20 years
Release of Mario’s fav movie: Fight Club 10 years (More on the last one later.)
First though, I want to say thank you to all our vets (including Mario, btw), past and present. No matter your politics, it’s because of their sacrifices that we’re able to argue, condemn, extol or pontificate to our heart's desire.
Next up—Publisher’s Weekly chose their annual list of the year’s best books. In the top ten, there are NO women. Here’s the NYT take:
Compiled by DAVE ITZKOFF Published: November 5, 2009
The trade publication Publishers Weekly probably wanted to provoke discussion with its annual list of the year’s best books, but not like this. In its issue of Nov. 2 Publishers Weekly compiled its PW Top 10, a decidedly subjective ranking of the best fiction and nonfiction published in 2009, including the biography “Cheever: A Life,” by Blake Bailey; the novel “Await Your Reply,” by Dan Chaon; and the graphic novel “Stitches,” by David Small. But as The Guardian reports, the ranking has drawn protests from a women’s literary group that notes there are no female writers on the list. Cate Marvin, a founder of the group Women in Letters and Literary Arts, told The Guardian, “The absence made me nearly speechless.” In her introduction to the year-end list Louisa Ermelino, the reviews director of Publishers Weekly, wrote, “We ignored gender and genre and who had the buzz.” She added, “It disturbed us when we were done that our list was all male.”
If you're curious what made it, go here for the list.
In Denver news, Tattered Cover to Sell (and Buy) Used Books
Already reeling under competition from chain bookstores and dot-coms, which can undercut their independent cousins by bulk buying and selling at much lower prices, locally owned bookstores are taking it on the chin even worse in today's struggling economy.
One of the best-known independents in the country, Denver's 35-year-old Tattered Cover Book Store, is taking a new tack — selling used books.
Although the store has never sold used books, general manager Matthew Miller said, "Our decision to carry used books was about 25 years in the making."
I mentioned Fight Club was one of Mario’s favorite movies (and books). Here’s perspective From Shelf Awareness and the NYT:
The film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's 1996 novel, Fight Club, "stirred vitriolic ire when it came out 10 years ago and today inspires obsessive, often worshipful scrutiny in both lowbrow and highbrow quarters," the New York Times observed in its examination of Fight Club's elevation to cult status.
Although the movie was a box office disaster, it has had a successful sales afterlife in DVD and book formats, and has even inspired a video game and a men's fashion line. Director David Fincher said that when he read the novel, "I thought, Who is this Chuck Palahniuk and how has he been intercepting all my inner monologues?"
Palahniuk called the film "the best date flick ever," the Times wrote, noting that the high-testosterone story has also found a substantial female audience: "The Fight Club generation is the first generation to whom sex and death seem synonymous, [Palhniuk] said, pointing out that the 'meet-cute' between the characters played by [Edward] Norton and Helena Bonham Carter occurs in a support group for the terminally ill. Having grown up with an awareness of AIDS, younger readers and viewers, he added, 'could identify with the implied marriage of sex and death; and once that fear was acknowledged those people could move forward and risk finding romantic love.'"
The secret to the enduring allure of “Fight Club” may be that it is, as Mr. Norton put it, quoting Mr. Fincher, “a serious film made by deeply unserious people.” In other words, a film as willing to take on profound questions as it is to laugh at and contradict itself: what is “Fight Club” if not the most fashionable commercial imaginable for anti-materialism? A movie of big ideas and abundant ambiguities, it can be read and reread in many ways…
IMHO, a half-naked, thirty-year-old Brad Pitt may have had something to do with it, too…
And something from the Daily Beast Blog that in a round about way has connections to Veterans Day, too
As the nation marks another Veterans Day with gays still barred from serving openly, Kaylie Jones, daughter of From Here to Eternity author James Jones, reveals that a major gay sex storyline was cut from her father’s famed novel. Plus, view the original manuscript.
This one caught my eye because it was Mario’s favorite news story for a while:
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- A former astronaut who drove 1,000 miles from Houston to Orlando to mount a bizarre attack on a romantic rival pleaded guilty Tuesday to reduced charges and was sentenced to a year on probation.
Lisa Novak before and after the debacle.
Huh? A year on probation? Her victim, Colleen Shipman, says she still fears Novak. Weird end to a weird story. The details here.
Spoof on Twilight courtesy of pal Mark Henry (who brought it to our attention) and You Tube.
Here’s the Tot on Halloween—Anna thinks she's the cutest Minnie Mouse there ever was!
And because everyone loves a happy ending (especially when it involves puppies), here’s one to launch you on your way with a smile:
Hunters rescue stray dog, puppies in forest From The Denver Post
Posted: 10/28/2009 01:00:00 AM MDT Updated: 10/28/2009 02:31:37 AM MDT
Ed Cray and two friends were camping recently in the White River National Forest near Glenwood Springs when they heard a dog barking.
Later, the dog wandered into their campsite. Seeing that she was very thin, the hunters fed her some of their leftover dinner. When she set off back into the woods, the Denver-area hunters worried about her and assumed she might have been abandoned. The dog, whom they named Remy, came back later in their trip and led them to her den in the woods. Under a fallen tree were five, plump puppies.
Even though they didn’t take home any elk, Cray said it was a perfect hunting trip. He kept Remy and all five puppies have been adopted.
So, back to work. Book Seven is coming along. I'm thinking of posting a little as I go as teasers. Any thoughts?
posted by Jeanne Stein @ 5:59 AM9 comments
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Lost and Found Weekend plus a contestMario here:
Thanks to Jeanne for covering for me last week. (She did a great job despite her whining about the extra work.) I'd gone to L.A. to attend a tribute to director Jesús Treviño by the DGA Latino Committee of the Directors Guild of America. Treviño has an extensive résumé of hit shows to include: Resurrection Blvd.,NYPD Blue, ER, The Practice, Star Trek: Voyager, Babylon Five, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He's also received numerous awards such as the DGA's Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Shows, and an Alma Award for Outstanding Director of a TelevisionDrama.
The DGA Theater on Sunset Blvd.
A highlight of the ceremony was an interview of Treviño by fellow screenwriter and director Sylvia Morales.
The tribute seemed like a reunion for those in the movie
biz and those involved in the Chicano Movement. Here is Dolores Huerta (flanked by two old-school Brown Berets), a pioneer champion of civil rights not just for Chicanos but for farm workers, women, and children.
A big treat was that I also got to meet Josefina Lopez, who wrote the play Real Women Have Curves. On the left is Lupe Ontiveros who played Carmen Garcia in the movie.
Not a great picture but this gives you a good idea of the enthusiastic crowd.
In a surprising coincidence, Denver mystery writer Manuel Ramos was in the area. He and his wife Flo met with me for lunch at the Los Angeles Farmers Market. Afterwards we toured the nearby Writers Guild Foundation Shavelson-Webb Library. Here Manuel poses beside a display of the script and a sample reel from Singing in the Rain.
And of course last weekend was Halloween. For the first time in years I attended a costume party. I went as Rat Bastard. No one seemed surprised.
THE event of the party was this awesome fire dancer.
Biting-Edge expat Marta Acosta is giving away a copy of Vampire Taxonomy by Meredith Woerner. Interested? Then get on over to VampireWire.
From Amazon: In the tiny village of Rockabill, Maine, Jane True—26-year-old bookstore clerk and secret night swimmer—has no idea that her absent mother’s legacy is entry into a world populated by the origins of human myths and legends. It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: vampires are not quite what we think; dogs sometimes surprise us; and whatever you do, never—ever—rub the genie’s lamp.
For Jane, everything kicks off when she comes across a murder victim during her nightly clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean. This grisly discovery leads to the revelation of why she has such freakish abilities in the water: her mother was a Selkie and Jane is only half human. With this knowledge, Jane soon finds herself mingling with supernatural creatures alternately terrifying, beautiful, and deadly—all adjectives that quite handily describe her new friend Ryu. When Ryu is sent to Rockabill to investigate the murder, he and Jane fall hard for each other even as they plummet into a world of intrigue threatening to engulf both supernatural and human societies.
For someone is killing half-humans like Jane. The question is, are the murders the work of one rogue individual or part of a greater plot to purge the world of Halflings?
Allison Beckstrom's magic has taken its toll on her, physically marking her and erasing her memories-including those of the man she supposedly loves. But lost memories aren't the only things preying on Allie's thoughts.
Her late father, the prominent businessman-and sorcerer-Daniel Beckstrom, has somehow channeled himself into her very mind. With the help of The Authority, a secret organization of magic users, she hopes to gain better control over her own abilities-and find a way to deal with her father...
Just to show you I put my money where my mouth is, I have all three. I haven’t yet read Devon’s or Nicole’s, but if you have, let us know what you think. Jackie's is fun, sexy and full of surprises.
BTW, over at Deadline Dames, Jackie and Devon are doing a give away. Check it out here.
I wondered how long it would take: From Shelf Awareness and the WSJ:
Notes: Discounted Titles Rationed
The book pricing conflict entered a new stage Thursday as Wal-Mart, Amazon and Target began rationing the number of copies customers can buy of certain discounted titles. "The limits will stop other booksellers from scooping up cheap copies in large quantities and reselling them," the Wall Street Journal reported, noting that for online customers Wal-Mart's limit is "two copies each of certain bargain books," while Amazon has a three-copy maximum and Target a five-copy limit.
Arsen Kashkashian, head buyer at the Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colo., told the Journal "he had intended to buy as many as 70 copies of Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna from Walmart.com, Target.com or Amazon, because their prices are 'more than $5 cheaper than what we can get it for from the publisher, Harper.'"
"It's to prevent a run on the bank, so to speak," said consultant Joel Bines of AlixPartners. "They are losing money on every item they sell at this price, so they want to make sure the items actually go to customers, who might then buy something else."
Top earning dead celebrities from Forbes.
I only noted the writers. For the full list go here:
No. 5 J.R.R. Tolkien $50 million
No 8 Dr. Seuss $15 million
No. 10 Michael Crichton $9 million
Want to read a free Stephen King Story? Go here (from the New Yorker)
Nov 4 was the anniversary of Howard Carter’s great discovery: the tomb of King Tut. The Writer’s Forensic Blog has a nice article on it. I had the pleasure of seeing one of the exhibits of artifacts from the tomb. Quite wonderful.
I’m doing the National Novel Writing Month thing this year. If you are too and want to be buddies, my name is JeanneCStein (original, yes?) I thought it would be a good way to get into the new book. Off to a slow start, though. The idea is to write 50,000 words in one month. The editor in me is finding it hard (read impossible) not to go back and want to change/correct/rewrite. Don’t know how this is going to work out. Day five and I only have about 1600 words.
Have any of you out there participated? How many words did you write?
Do what’s going on in your world? Anything you want to share? Seen any good movies? Read any good books?
I’ll close with Halloween pics from Lady K… boy, does she make a great vamp!!! And great outside decorations, too. Anybody else want to share pics? Send to Jeanne@jeannestein.com. How about the Tot? What did she do for Halloween?
Day of the Dead Sounds appropriate for a Mario post. If any of you know where in Colorado this wonderfully ghoulish exhibit is displayed, let me know. The picture was taken by Denver Post state circulation manager Rick Charbonneau.
If you MUST have a fix, Mario is posting over at PenFatales. Juliet Blackwell is running an article he did for her called Bloody Badassery. You can link to it here
But to show you how much of a badass Mario really is, take a look at this pic from MileHiCon….
Okay, Mario, I did what I promised. Now off to do something fun-- cheering the Broncos on to yet ANOTHER victory!! Hopefully...
posted by Jeanne Stein @ 9:33 AM2 comments