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, October 31, 2010
A Top Horror Writing Blog...that's us! Mario here,
This last Saturday, Jeanne and I had the pleasure of presenting with Stephen Graham Jones, Betsy Dornbusch, Ed Hickok, Thia Myles Vincent, Dave Jackson, and E.C. Stacy at the Englewood Library Meet UpHalloween Extravaganza. Much thanks to Mike Hance for orchestrating this.
Fellow mystery writer Terry Wright is pushing pedal to the metal for his short stories available on-line as downloads for Kindle, Nook, or straight to your computer. His latest is Night Stalker from New Line Press. Only $1.99. Terry not only wrote a great story, he also did the cover art!
What's really got our fangs a-twitching is news that Biting-Edge favorite Sigourney Weaver will play the vampire queen in the upcoming horror/comedy Vamps. Also starring Alicia Silverstone. The movie: "tells the story of two fanged BFFs who live in modern day New York. They are, as everyone likes to pun, living the 'good nightlife' until they fall in love and 'each has to make a choice that will jeopardize their immortality.' " Sigourney Weaver...oh yeah.
Suddenly the hot writing job at Warner Bros is the 76-year old film The Thin Man, because Johnny Depp wants to remake it with his Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides director Rob Marshall. The studio already has put together a short list of Terry Rossio, Jerry Stahl and Christopher McQuarrie, each of whom have worked previously with Depp. And like the actor, they are fans of the Dashiell Hammett novel and the series of six MGM films that starred William Powell and Myrna Loy. Depp sparked to playing the role of Nick, who marries a young socialite and settles into a life of drinking and occasional sleuthing. No word on who'll play Norah…
It will be true to the period, in a Sherlock Holmes-like stylized treatment. They also intend to use Marshall’s talents as a choreographer and work in a musical number or two.
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For you aspiring writers, a bit of encouragement.
15 Classic Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels that Publishers rejected
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So, Halloween is fast approaching. Are you dressing up? Send pics to email@example.com and we'll publish them.
I'm also guest blogging on Steamed! this Sunday. A site devoted to the writers of Steampunk. Now, as you know, I don't write Steampunk but I love to read it. So in honor of the theme, I'm not only giving away one of my books, but a signed copy of Cherie Priest's Boneshaker.
Tonight Mario and I do the first of two Vampire Library Nights Programs:
Highlands Ranch Library
9292 Ridgeline Blvd.
Free but Registration Required Call 303-791-7323
Then Saturday, it's a Halloween Extravaganza:
October 301 PM
Mario and I join Stephen Graham Jones. Ed Hickok, E.C. Stacy, and Betsy Dornbusch for this one
Englewood Public Library
1000 Englewood Parkway
Hope to see you, but remember, be careful out there Halloween night...the dead walk amongst you!
Mile Hi Con behind us, up ahead...Halloween with wine! Mario here,
Another Mile Hi Con bites the dust. You mix writers, geeks, booze, and costumes, you're bound to end up with all sorts of nuttiness. This con didn't disappoint.
<----Costumer-extraordinaire Neffra had to show
off her Klingon cleavage.
Ilana and Janene continued to strut their stuff after the costume contest.--->
As expected, Jeanne and Betsy Dornbusch got a jump start on the mayhem by fueling up at the bar and plotting against you-know-who.
Cons are a great time to reunite with writer friends. Warren Hammond (L), Carrie Vaughn, and Paolo Bacigalupi (R).
We had much to celebrate with the recent success of Bacigalupi, winner of a Hugo and a Nebula for The Windup Girl, and as a Finalist for a National Book Award for Ship Breaker.
Jeanne represented the Biting-Edge on the Vampires, Werewolves, Mermaids: Next in Urban Fantasy panel with Author Guest of Honor Rachel Caine (L), and Stephen Graham Jones (R).
Every once in a rare while I surprise myself in a good way. It happened at this con when I met the Artist Guest of Honor Donato Giancola and guessed his major artistic influence. Giancola provided the breathtaking cover illustration for the conference program with a reproduction of his oil painting Mechanic. I complimented Giancola about his impressive ability to render such a convincing red metallic. He said he used a red Christmas ball ornament as a model.
I studied the painting and commented to Gianola that his color palette and style reminded me of the great British painter John Waterhouse (1849-1917).
Giancola brightened at my
observation and replied with an enthusiastic affirmative.
(Waterhouse La Belle Dame Sans Merci --->)
Afterwards we had a wonderful conversation about Giancola's career, his techniques, and our appreciation for Waterhouse and NC Wyeth. Made me want to get back to the easel ASAP, and I will.
One topic among us writers is that in our stories, for all our struggles against formula, we can still unwittingly wallow in the tropes of our genre. If you want to churn through the banal and overdone concepts of the small screen, check out the website TVtropes.org
I'm the guest blogger on Readaholic's Scarefest with my essay, Why I Love Halloween. Thanks for the invitation, Bridget.
Since this is the season of witches and things that can make you go e-yeew! in a big way, we must share these videos.
First: from author Deborah Harkness, whose debut novel A Discovery of Witches, is due out February 8 from Viking.
Harkness is a vintner with an award-winning blog, GoodWineUnder $20. But what about us poor writers? Anything for under five bucks?
I was asked by the AV Club of The Onion to share my favorite horror movie. No contest. John Carpenter's The Thing, and especially for this scene:
Enough with the gross outs. Fortunately, we have Elvira providing some needed and welcome relief (and more cleavage):
CBS is developing a series based on author Charlaine Harris' Harper Connelly series of mystery novels.
In the case of the Harper Connelly books, Eye likely hopes that lightning strikes twice with Harris, whose "Sookie Stackhouse" thrillers were turned into HBO's hit series "True Blood."
"Grave Sight" -- titled after Harris' first Harper Connelly book -- will come from Ridley Scott and Tony Scott, as well as Naren Shankar ("CSI"), David Zucker and scribe Kam Miller ("Law and Order: SVU"), all of whom will exec produce.
The Harper Connelly mysteries center on a woman who's struck by lightning -- and suddenly able to see the last moments of the dead.
Talk about the big guns...Charlaine may have a second mega-hit on her hands.
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And Jackie Kessler (the Hell on Earth series), writing as Jackie Morse Kessler has her first YA out.
In her own words: It's official: HUNGER is on sale. HUNGER is about an anorexic teenage girl who becomes the new Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. A portion of proceeds is being donated to the National Eating Disorders Association.
"Kessler has written an unusual allegory about eating disorders, one that works on several levels. . . . A refreshingly new approach to the YA eating-disorder genre that reinforces the difficulty of conquering these diseases."--Booklist
Jackie is a wonderful writer and though I haven't read this one yet, I'm looking forward to it. The reviews have been terrific. Give it a shot.
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I've probably mentioned a few hundred times that I'm a Sherlock Holmes fan.
From PBS.org : Beginning this Sunday, October 24, Masterpiece Mystery! is showing three episodes of a new BBC production of Sherlock Holmes that is set in contemporary London. The first episode is A Study in Pink, based on A Study in Scarlet, the Arthur Conan Doyle story that introduced readers to the brilliant, eccentric detective. On October 31, The Blind Banker airs; November 7 is The Great Game.
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Holmes, Martin Freeman is Dr. Watson and Rupert Graves plays Inspector Lestrade.
Not sure I understand the "set in contemporary London" but I'll watch. It's from the writers of Doctor Who so this should be VERY interesting.
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Here's the kind of marketing you can do if you have big bucks:
A new campaign for “Decoded,” the memoir by the hip-hop performer Jay-Z, promises to be a real head-turner. Beginning Monday, reproductions of entire pages of the book will appear unannounced in locales referred to in those pages. (Like the pool table above)
“If in certain pages Jay-Z is talking about something related to Times Square, then those pages might be on billboards in Times Square,” said David Droga, creative chairman Droga5, the New York agency heading the campaign. Mr. Droga declined to reveal locations beforehand (including the veracity of the Times Square example), but did describe the campaign in oblique terms.
Players who are the first to discover the pages will be eligible to win a signed copy of the book and the grand prize, a trip to Las Vegas to see Jay-Z and Coldplay in a New Year’s Eve concert. Andrew Adam Newman
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Mario and I have three--count 'em--three upcoming events.
MileHiCon Oct 22-24 Hyatt Regency Tech Center
Vampire Nite Oct. 28 Highlands Ranch Library 9292 Ridgeline Blvd. Highlands Ranch CO 80126 Free but Registration Required Call 303-791-7323
Colorado Author Series Denver Writers Meetup Halloween Extranvaganza October 30 1 PM Mario and I join Stephen Graham Jones, Ed Hickok, E.C. Stacy, and Betsy Dornbusch for this one Englewood Public Library 1000 Englewood Parkway Englewood CO 80110
On Halloween I'm guest blogger at Steamed , our very own Suzanne Lazear's blog on the world of Steampunk. I'll not only be giving away one of my books but Cherie Priest's newest, Dreadnought.
Then it's clear the decks time for National Novel Writing Month. Want to get a good start on book 8. Last year was the first time I participated and I set my goal at 20,000 words instead of 50,000. Made it. This year I may up it to 30,000.
So, what's new with you? Any special Halloween plans? The Tot and Lady K? What's your pleasure this year? And how about NaNoWriMo? Any takers? We could post our progress here or become buddies online.
Hard-boiled and Fantastic, three of our favorites, with an angel Mario here:
It's fitting that in this time of magical make-believe and scariness that we announce that Biting-Edge ex-pat Marta Acosta ties up her Casa Dracula series with her newest book, Haunted Honeymoon. Booklist calls this story, "A satisfying wrap-up to a snappy supernatural series." Drop by VampireWire and tell Marta that the Biting-Edge sent you.
Also, Carolyn Crane, one of our buddies from the League of Reluctant Adults, has a giveaway on the Borders True Romance blog. Answer a simple multiple-choice test and you too could win a set of the Justine Jones urban fantasy novels, Mind Games and Double Cross.
The supernatural is more than vampires, demons, and monsters. We also have the occasional angel. But having wings may not be all you expect it to be. As shown here:
This Tuesday, I'll be teaching another workshop at the Denver Public Library Fresh City Life series: Boo! Scary Stories that Really Scare
And moving outside the orbit of urban fantasy and the paranormal, we're super pleased to give the news that Pens Fatales author Sophie Littlefield won an Anthony Award at the BoucherCon Mystery Writers Conference for Best First Novel for her book, A Bad Day for Sorry.
We heard there was a wrestling match between Sophie and her agent, Barbara Poelle, for the award. While we normally wouldn't pass along such gossip, we have a picture.
For you Janet Evanovich fans-- here's the dope on the new One for the Money Movie
Synopsis: Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl), an unemployed lingerie buyer, convinces her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie (Patrick Fischler), to give her a shot as a bounty hunter. Her first assignment is to track down a former cop, Joe Morelli (Jason O'Mara), on the run for murder -- the same man who broke her heart years before. With the help of some friends and the best bounty hunter in the business, Ranger (Daniel Sunjata), she slowly learns what it takes to be a true bounty hunter.
Other cast members include John Leguizamo as Jimmy Alpha, Ana Reeder as Connie Rossoli, Ryan Michelle Bathe as Jackie and Sherri Shepherd as dual roles playing two hookers with hearts of gold. There are no details about Shepherd's dual roles but one of them is confirmed to be Lula. Grandma Mazur will be played by Debbie Reynolds.
Consider this an early Halloween present from me to you: Pushing Daisies mastermind Bryan Fuller is toiling away on a modern-day reboot of the creepshow classic The Munsters!
So far, NBC, with whom Fuller has an overall deal, has ordered only a pilot. But since the potential series is being described to me as “Modern Family meets True Blood,” I have a good feeling about it.
Not only that, but rumor has it no less than Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy) is eyeing a behind-the-scenes role in the project.
So, um, once you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor, let’s see the synonyms for “amazing” you come up with to describe the very notion of this show below.
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Mario Vargas Llosa: a Nobel Winner's Life
Mario Vargas Llosa, a giant of South American literature whose political ambitions saw him run for president in his native Peru, won the Nobel prize for literature. I still have nightmares after reading The Feast of the Goat. Here's a slide show of his life
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This is so cool!
James Marsters fans pooled their resources to purchase a seat for the renovation of the Royal Shakespeare Company's theater in Stratford On Avon. They presented a miniature of the seat to him at New York Comic Con. Here's the video...
It's October, the month for ghosts, ghouls, and frightful tales. With that in mind, I'm teaching a workshop at the Denver Public Library, as part of their Fresh City Life programs, Boo! Scary Stories That Really Scare.
I recently saw Let Me In, the Hollywood remake of the Swedish vampire flick, Let The Right One In. Both movies are entertaining and spooky homages to undead lore and the 12 yo vampire is one of the most vicious and creepy bloodsuckers on screen.
Interestingly, the American version kept the original's bleak and low-rent atmosphere. Though having been in Los Alamos, I remember it as an upscale burg peopled with PhDs and brainy folks employed at the nearby nuclear weapons labs.
Also, New Mexico winters are much like Denver winters; we don't get days of unrelenting gloom like in the movie. It might stay cold as hell for weeks on end, but the sun does come out to torment us with hopes of warmth.
Because I write vampire novels, readers assume that I was always an aficionado of monsters and all things undead. Actually, I wasn't. Vampires and zombies never creeped me out, and I thought monster movies were silly.
But there were a couple of things that terrified me. Deeply.
In the Southwest we have the tale of La Llorona, the wailing woman who haunts rivers and lakes. According to legend, before she became La Llorona, a woman went mad and drowned her children. She now stalks the waters and lures the unsuspecting to their doom, hoping to assuage her torment and replace the souls of her damned children with those of her victims. As kids we were constantly reminded of La Llorona with stories of actual eye-witness accounts. Would our aunts and their boyfriends lie to us? Even as late as junior high, if my friends and I had to return home at night, we took the long way rather than shortcuts using the ditch banks crisscrossing my home town. We picked up sticks and rocks to defend ourselves in case we ran into La Llorona.
And the other thing that terrified me to fits was the threat of nuclear war.
Duck and cover drills had been forgotten by the time I was in elementary school, or else nobody thought the Commies would waste a nuke on Las Cruces. But I knew about the possibility of nuclear attack from the Civil Defense pamphlets my dad brought from the army reserves. The television would also broadcast the occasional CD public announcement, frighteningly surreal with their bizarre use of cartoons and marionettes to blunt the horror of atomic annihilation.
I read a lot of airplane and history books and so even as a little kid I was familiar with modern bombers, ballistic missiles, and Hiroshima. Movies like The Time Machine showed the consequences of atomic war and made the prospect of a nuclear Apocalypse ever more real.
Then...one October night, the Civil Defense alarm mounted on the local fire house went off. I recognized the constant tone wail. Red Alert! Imminent attack. Fifteen minutes to Armageddon! We were doomed. I broke into a sweat and started bawling. I expected to hear shrieks of terror burst throughout the neighborhood. At any moment a blinding light would burn through my window and the glass would shatter before the inferno consumed us all.
And then... nothing. No panicked mobs in the streets. No flashes of light. No big boom.
Only that damn alarm that kept wailing and wailing. As I lay there blotting my tears, I first felt foolish. Then disappointed. No nuclear war. I later found out the alarm was to roust the volunteer firemen. What a gyp.
Now comes the wait...
Novella is finished--now for the hard part. Waiting for the yay or nay from my editor. A lesson to you aspiring writers out there--no matter how many books you have published, you can still be turned down for a project. I did get an advance look at the cover. From a member of the class I'm teaching at Writers on Line. Not from the publisher. Go figure. Here it is.
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One of my favorite TV writers, Stephen Cannell passed away this week. His early series Silk Stalkings and Renegade were among my favorite guilty pleasures way back when. Then Wiseguy with Ken Wahl came along, breaking broke down the violence barrier long before it became routine. He did an interview a couple of years ago talking about about his book, At First Sight. It's got a nice intro, a compilation of his shows.
Kimbra Hickey wants some recognition for her pinky-size role in the "Twilight" phenomenon.
Hers are the slender, ghostly hands cupping a red apple on the now-famous cover of the first hit book by Stephenie Meyer.
But Hickey's lack of fame has her cracking her knuckles in frustration.
"It was major exposure for my hands," said the petite, 40-year-old model. "But nobody knew who I was."
The 2004 photo shoot for the "Twilight" book cover paid $300 -- the industry standard for two hours of work. Hickey had to file her nails extra short so her tiny hands didn't look like an adult's.
Lately, she's been going to "Twilight" fan conventions -- she's at one this weekend in Portland, Ore. -- where she sells apple-scented hand lotion.
$300.00???? That's it???? And not even a credit? I'd be frustrated, too.
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This weekend I'm off to Fairplay for a writers retreat. Boy, do I need this. To get us in the mood, Vicki Law, the organizer of these retreats, sent us this video she came across about scary happenings in the Hand Hotel. Only trouble is, it's not a very scary video. And as far as I know, Grandma Hand hasn't even stopped by to say hello while we were in residence.
There is also a link to an article about the Hand. It's worth checking out for the organ music alone.
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At the last ComicCon there was talk about the convention moving to (gasp) LA. According to these sources though:
Comic-Con International, which had considered proposals to move to Los Angeles or Anaheim from its longtime home in San Diego, Calif., after its contract with the convention center expires in 2012, has decided to stay in San Diego at least through 2015, the Wrap reported. The grandfather of all comics shows, which began in 1970, capped its attendance at 125,000 three years ago. The next Comic-Con show will be held July 21-24.
Yay, San Diego!!
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Mario talked about banned books week. Guess who is #5 on the list of books most often requested to be banned from libraries? Stephanie Meyer. Here are the top ten most challenged titles in 2009 according to the Guardian :
1. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series) by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs
2. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
6. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
7. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence
8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
9. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
10. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
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And last but not least, Barnes &Noble launched it's own self-publishing digital platform PubIt! (the exclamation point is theirs, not mine). One of its selling points is that PubIt! will convert Microsoft Word, text, or HTML files to ePub format at no cost.
I guess that's it for this installment. How goes it for you? I'm wondering if we'll get snow in Fairplay this weekend. It's been getting cold enough at night. I'll bet the ski buffs are chomping at the bit!
Banned Book Week is over and the buzz, in case you didn't hear it, was that fellow Leaguer Richelle Mead is probably the first American author to have a book banned before it was ever written. I'd always imagined the author of a
banned book as a Ted Kaczynski type, some bearded misanthrope writing manifestos, or a Marquis de Sade penning anti-church
So imagine our shock when our own sweet Richelle not only had her current Vampire Academy books banned, but all future books in the series as well. Not even Henry Miller or Kurt Vonnegut managed such a feat. Those schoolmarms in Stephenville are such fraidy cats. Very un-Texan behavior. Yes, redheads are so subversive.