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!
Monday, November 29, 2010
RT nominees and Perverted Creatures of the Night Mario here,
Though she's not a Leaguer, we have to give kudos to Biting-Edge ex-pat Marta Acosta for Haunted Honeymoon
Urban Fantasy Novel:
Our own Jeanne Stein for Chosen
Carolyn Crane for
Urban Fantasy Protagnonist:
Mark Henry for Battle of the Network Zombies
And though they're not technically Leaguers, these nominees deserve special mention for being such awesome writers and cool friends (and generous when it comes to paying bar tabs):
Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy Novel:
Paolo Bacigalupi for Ship Breaker
Science Fiction Novel:
Connie Willis for Blackout
and All Clear
And two more who are definitely Leaguer in spirit (i.e., open-minded in the way an author of erotic fiction should be), it's no surprise to learn these two wild and wooly women were nominated for:
Erotic Romance: Lauren Dane for Coming Undone
Megan Hart for
Sadly, we have to mention the recent passing of two film celebrities.
First, one of the most famous actors you might never heard of: Ingrid Pitt (born as Ingoushka Petrov in Poland 1937). Pitt survived the Nazi concentration camps, escaped communist east Berlin, and then worked in Hammer Horror Films, making the classics The Vampire Lovers and Countess Dracula. She also acted in other movies such as Doctor Zhivago and Where Eagles Dare.
Perverted creatures of the night...Yes!
And the great comedian Leslie Nielsen. "...and don't call me Shirley." Despite his pratfalls in Airplane and The Naked Gun, we'll always remember Nielsenasthe dashing spaceship captain in Forbidden Planet.
Happy Thanksgiving Because I figure (hope) you will be spending today with family and friends and probably won't be dropping by to see what's up here, I'm going to save all the good things I've been collecting to share with you next week. If, however, you're looking for something to do while you digest tomorrow, drop by Underwords for the most original blog post I think I've ever done.
Once upon a time, travel by air implied adventure, romance, and elegance.
Who would've guessed back then, that in the 21st century--despite intercontinental jets, computers, all kinds of gee-whiz technology--taking off our clothes, walking barefoot, and getting fondled would be part of our travel itinerary.
Some passengers have had enough and so, another phrase enters the American lexicon of resistance to tyranny and injustice :
I regret I have but one life to give for my country.
We didn't land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us.
Tear down this wall!
And now: Don't touch my junk!
Homeland Security claims this humiliation is necessary to prevent another underwear bomber. But Janet Napolitino and her minions are strangely mute when it comes to discussing how they will stop the next obvious tactic intended to foil body scanners and the most aggressive of pat-downs: the Body-Cavity Explosive Device--aka the Butt or Cooter Bomb.
Such an attack already happened back in August 2009 when Abdullah Asieri infiltrated Saudi Arabian security. Fortunately, Asieri was the only casualty when a text message triggered the pound of explosive in his rectum. Good riddance.
Wrecked him? Hell, it killed him ---->
However, body scanners and pat-downs are useless in discovering such bombs. So then what?
Until then, I suggest that Homeland Security require that all female passengers wear skirts, male passengers wear kilts, and everybody must go commando. And instead of the expensive and unreliable body scanners, TSA should opt for the cheaper and much more effective leaf blower.
On to other news:
One of my favorite books is finally making it to the big screen, The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly. Starring über hunk Matthew McConaughey as the shady antihero lawyer: Mickey Haller.
We be pimping the awesome Baltimore expatriate, Cort McMeel. (Their loss, Denver's gain!) Don't let this pic fool you, McMeel is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. And he's plenty generous with beer money, which makes him a favorite here at the Biting-Edge around quitting time.
McMeel was the big man behind the acclaimed Murdaland mystery anthology. Short fiction noir at its darkest and most compelling. Now he's finally made it into the big league with his financial thriller, Short. Mark your calendars, as one of their Writer's Buzz presentations, Lighthouse Writers will host McMeel's book launch party, 7pm, Saturday, December 11 at 910 Arts, 910 Santa Fe Boulevard, Denver. Miss this and you might wake up on a pier wearing cement overshoes. Just saying.
There's no doubt this publishing business is CRAZY! Try and figure it out, I dare ya!
For example, the money. Hank Steinberg sold the screen rights, in the upper six figures, for a book that hasn't even been written. Likewise, Ernie Cline sold the screen rights for an unpublished debut novel, Ready Player One. And to further antagonize your green-eyed monster, 21 y.o. Paige Harbison sold her debut novel to Galgos Entertainment.
You won't have to read much between the lines to realize, that if you're going to schmooze, schmooze with people with Hollywood juice. Steinberg created the CBS show, Without a Trace. Cline already has screenwriter credentials. Harbison's mom has a movie of her own in the works with Galgos Entertainment, starring Halle Berry. Get the scoop here.
And we turn to the literary world's favorite punching bag, James I'm no sleazeoid Frey. Now he might be a man of questionable writing talent, but he is an expert of schmoozing his way into
big piles of money. He crashed and burned after the Million Little Pieces-Oprahfiasco. Then arose phoenix-like with the novel (and a huge advance) Bright Shiny Morning, which tanked. Recently, he's garnered even more notoriety with his publishing company Full Fathom Five and its infamous writing contract. Basically, you get paid $250 upfront to write a book, maybe another $250 upon completion, and maybe 40% of revenues generated by the work. But the real bacon for Frey is this clause: a $50,000 penalty if you the writer publicly admitted that you wrote for Full Fathom Five without permission. Why wouldn't Frey want you to tell the world about this deal? Besides the larcenous contract, what makes this even worse is that Frey recruited from students during his teaching gig at Columbia. He's teaching writing? Rather than guide his students around the perilous shoals of the writing biz, he takes full advantage of their desperate desire to get published and screws them with this offer. For details on the contract, read about it in the NY Mag.
But it's not always about the money. Sometimes, you get the most marvelous ego stroke like what happened to Leaguer pal, Jackie Morse Kessler, when Neil Gaiman had this photo taken with her book, Hunger.
Where Does the Time GO????
It's Thursday, and while I usually have my blog for the week finished and ready to post by this time, last week just slipped away.
There was one story that I'm sure you've all heard by now-- Amazon and the book, The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure. Because Shelf Awareness does such a good job of reporting on these things, I'm going to reprint their article here in its entirety. I've included the links if you want to pursue it further.
Kindle Book Stirs Controversy
To ban or not to ban. Online reaction was swift and angry yesterday when a new self-published Kindle book, The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure by Phillip Greaves, was offered for sale at Amazon.com. Customers piled up hundreds of one-star reviews and called for Amazon to remove the title. The backlash was strong on Twitter and Facebook as well, with calls for an Amazon boycott until the company stops selling the title.
TechCrunch reported that Amazon responded to the outcry by saying the company "believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions." By late Wednesday, however, Amazon had apparently removed the book from its website.
The Associated Press (via NPR) noted that this "isn't the first time Amazon has come under attack for selling objectionable content in its store. In 2002, the United States Justice Foundation, a conservative group, threatened to sue Amazon for selling Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers. That title is still available through Amazon. In 2009, Amazon stopped selling RapeLay, a first-person video game in which the protagonist stalks and then rapes a mother and her daughters, after it was widely condemned in the media and by various interest groups."
CBS News reported that Chris Finan, president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, "said that Amazon has the right under the First Amendment to sell any book that is not child pornography or legally obscene. Finan said Greaves' book doesn't amount to either because it does not include illustrations."
The question of censorship was also a substantial part of the online discussion. In a post titled "Crossing a Line: Is Banning Books Ever OK?" a Book Smugglers blogger observed: "My first reaction was that of revulsion and I not only RT the link with a 'I have no words' attached to it, I also wrote and I admit it, without thinking about what I was saying: Seriously Amazon? YOU NEED TO REMOVE THIS FROM YOUR SITE. Which is of course an attempt at book banning. Needless to say, madness ensued and we got hundreds of @ replies who shared the feelings of disgust and who retweeted the request to pull the book off Amazon.
"There were also quite a few replies who questioned the request on the grounds that censorship should never be encouraged even if the content of a book is disgusting and reprehensible. The ensuing conversation was not only interesting but also eye opening. Because I have always, always seen myself as someone who would never EVER condone book banning or censorship on any grounds, there I was facing a very uncomfortable truth about myself: a line I never ever thought I would cross and yet I did, in a heartbeat."
So, here's my question to you--is banning books ever acceptable? What think you?
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And because I think we need a palate cleanser after that subject, here's a trailer for those of you who did not catch the new Sherlock on Masterpiece Mystery. I certainly hope they get those new episodes up fast-- talk about leaving us in a cliff hanger!!!!
If you're a writer, the gossip is all about what you are doing as part of National Novel Writing Month. The goal: 50,000 words in 30 days. Simple math breaks it down: 1666.66 words a day. Doable, unless you slog at the keyboard like I do. For me, 1500 words in one day is a huge deal and frankly even that pace wears me out after a few days. Thanks God for Happy Hour to recharge the batteries.
Now in full disclosure, I'm not really participating in NaNoWriMo because I have a manuscript due before Thanksgiving and I'm about ten chapters shy of finishing. And unlike NaNoWriMo which discourages you from editing if it interferes with the word count, I can't turn in my manuscript without beating it with my harshest editorial club. If you're intimidated by the blinking cursor on your monitor, there's a saying to help prod you into starting those first words: Give yourself permission to write crap. Well my first draft is so full of crap that I have to wear rubber boots and muck out my writing space every afternoon.
For the rest of you NaNoWriMo-renos, try these strategies to keep the words flowing:
Write what you love. Unicorns, cupcakes, serial killers, old flames you'd like to see baked into cupcakes by a serial-killer unicorn, have at it.
And conversely, challenge yourself to write something different.
Keep plenty of hot drinks handy, especially coffee. Especially coffee. I don't consider that I've got a buzz going unless my teeth are chattering.
Steal! And by that I mean shamelessly take from every experience. Car wrecks, rejection, watching a foe get his due, anything and everything is manuscript fodder. You know you're doing it right when your BFF is laying out her heart about her cheating rat-bastard boyfriend, then she gives you a look and asks, "You're going to use this in your story, aren't you?" And because you write fiction, you lie and tell her, "Of course not." But you will. Good writer.
We even have a theme song and music video, so we must be official!
Over at the League of Reluctant Adults, we welcome a new member, Kevin Hearne, and we're busting at the seams with pride over his debut novel, Hounded. Unlike the rest of us mortals, he didn't get an ARC but an ARE, Advance Reader's Edition, because he is Mr. Hearne and so very special. Awesome cover.
News and Views...
Now that Mario and I are Master Bloggers, how I love that, I was relieved to find a few articles of interest for this week's Master Blog. But first, a couple of personal items.
Chosen was nominated by RT Book Reviews Magazine as Best Urban Fantasy Novel for 2010. Competition is keen: MAGIC BLEEDS by Ilona Andrews; TOTAL ECLIPSE by Rachel Caine; DOUBLE CROSS by Carolyn Crane; MOB RULES by Cameron Haley; DUST by JoanFrances Turner.
Win, lose or draw, I'm honored.
Second, HEXED, four novellas by Ilona Andrews, Yasmine Gaenorn, Allyson James and moi, is available now for preorder here :
Here's the back cover blurb about my story:
From national bestselling author Jeanne C. Stein comes "Blood Debt," where bounty-hunter-turned vampire Anna Strong is visited by three witches who ask her to right an old magical wrong. Anna will have to live up to her name to make it through alive...
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From Shelf Awareness:
Powell’s Books, Portland, Ore., has purchased 7,000 books from Anne Rice's personal library and set up a dedicated page on its website to sell them, the Oregonian reported.
Powell's From the Library of Anne Rice section notes that the collection includes "editions signed or annotated by Ms. Rice, and many have her library markings on the spines. The collection showcases her love of literature and writing and reveals a true intellectual curiosity--classic philosophy, the Brontes, biblical archaeology, and Louisiana history are just a few of the subject areas represented."
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From Shelf Awareness:
New Zealand officials agreed to a deal "under which they will contribute special financing and introduce labor legislation" to discourage Warner Brothers and Peter Jackson from taking the production of the two movies adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit out of the country.
The New York Times reported that the agreement came "after a week in which thousands of New Zealand film workers had taken to the streets in a push to save The Hobbit--and much of New Zealand's film industry with it--while others questioned whether its politicians had gone too far in kowtowing to Hollywood."
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Meet Deaver: Jeffery Deaver, author of the next Bond novel
Best known for his thrillers starring quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme, Deaver has a new mission: Bring Bond into the 21st century in a new 007 novel.
The yet-to-be-named book is cryptically referred to as "Project X" by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd., which owns the rights to Fleming's work…
"The novel," he says, "is set in the present day, in 2011. Bond is a young agent for the British secret service. He's 29 or 30 years old, and he's an Afghan war vet."
That in itself is big news. After all, if Bond were aging in real time — he first appeared in Fleming's Casino Royale n 1953 — the now doddering (although assuredly still handsome) 007 would be nearly 90.
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A very cool idea:
Ever wonder what it would be like to hang out with Frankenstein? U Star Novels offers "a range of romantic novels that are fully personalized to include up to 30 of your personal details, making you and your partner the stars of your very own novel....
With U Star Personalized Classics, the plot remains the same, the only thing that changes is that it could be you following the yellow brick road, or your brother hunting vampires in the darkest depths of Transylvania, or your best friend starring in one of the best-loved romances of all time alongside her own Mr. Darcy!" ---
A novel Christmas present perhaps....
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And a special congratulations to Julie Kazimer, one of our Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers buddies, on her first book sale:
J.A. Kazimer's F***ED UP FAIRYTALE, pitched as "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" meets "Shrek" when Cinderella is run over by a bus and a private investigator (on mental health leave from the Villains Union) is hired by her not-so-ugly stepsister to solve what she believes is a murder and break her own curse before New Never City is riddled with dead bodies, to Peter Senftleben at Kensington, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, by Sharon Belcastro at Belcastro Agency (World).
Always a nice thing to celebrate!!
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Fox is out with a new trailer for its big Christmas film, the Jack Black-starrer Gulliver's Travels which gets released December 22:
Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., the home of James Bond, filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday in a plan that had the backing of its lenders and put funding of its half of "The Hobbit" back on track.
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So, who's doing NaNoWriMo? I've logged in 7500 words--but I know I can't keep up this pace. Just trying to get ahead of the game...