Welcome to Biting-Edge, a blog shared by authors and vampire experts, Mario Acevedo and Jeanne Stein. We’ll cover urban fantasy, vampires, pop culture, and all things Joss Whedon. Unlike other fantasy blogs, we don’t insist on body cavity searches (unless you ask politely). Snarkiness is most welcome...though we won't promise not to bite back!
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Anna' s World Before we take off on our tour of Anna's world, Mario wanted me to remind you that we'll be presenting at the Pikes Peak Mountain of Authors this weekend.
The free program will be held on Saturday, April 2 from 12:30 - 6 p.m. at East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd. Colorado Springs No registration is required.
Doors open at noon
Panel 1: Paranormal Fiction – 12:30 - 1:30 p.m
* Mario Acevedo, author * Parker Blue (Pam McCutcheon), author * Jeanne Stein, author
Author Showcase Spotlight and Golden Quill Award – 1:30 - 2 p.m.
Break – 2 - 2:30 p.m.
Panel 2: Publishing – 2:30 - 3:30 p.m.
* Doris Baker, Filter Press * Teresa Funke, Teresa Funke & Company * Nancy Mills, CIPA President
Break – 3:30 - 4 p.m.
Keynote Speaker: Jerry B. Jenkins – 4 - 5 p.m.
Book Signing and Reception – 5 - 6 p.m.
You can get more information here or by calling 719-531-6333
It would be great to see you!
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Now, a few weeks ago, I was contacted by a reader, Nicole Gillison who was planning a birthday surprise for her wife, LaRay. Nicole planned a tour of some of the locations featured in the series. She asked me for some details and then went to work on the tour. I'm going to let you see and hear what they found!
Wow what an adventure we had! :)
We took a lot of pictures; sadly we dropped the good camera and ended up taking a lot of pictures with our cell phone. So not sure if you can use or would want to use any of them but I'm happy to share all these pictures with you.
Nikki did such a great job at walking me through the books. She did this whole tour guide with stories of who, where, and what. It was really nice.
We found a real biker bar in El Cajon, the closest one to a biker bar here in town is Hi Cera and well that is a dive but not a biker bar. Dego is a true Hells Angels Biker bar so we went over there took a picture, wow it was a rush too just picturing Anna, and David doing a bounty in there.
We went to Sea Port Village- (Could this be the view from Anna's office?)
Her Cottage (tried to pick which one we thought),
The view from Avery's house a top Mt. Soledad:
Balboa Park. Can you spot the secret doorway?
There is a house in Hillcrest, we always said reminds us of the Witch's house. So we drove over there took a picture. :)
Driving near the Coronado Bridge flashed the memories of Anna being in Coronado and searching for Burke.
We wanted to go to the Sea Cliffs but didn't get a chance to go, there happened to be a big surprise waiting for me at the end of the day and we had a time crunch so had to cut it off by 6pm so Avery's was our last stop. :)
This was an amazing birthday, with your help all your books we had a wonderful day. So amazing! :)
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There are more pictures and I plan to post all of them on my website in the next few weeks. LaRay and Nicole-- you two are the greatest. I can't think of a nicer complement than the one you've paid me.
We'll start with the pimpage. Shout out toColette Duke, who gives us sensual science fiction romance. Here's her giveaway to celebrate Emerald 3 hitting #1 Science Fiction Romance Short Story:
"Emerald 3 is my entree into the science fiction romance world. A short story, just to get my feet wet in the genre. I was tickled enough when it was #1 in an incredibly obscure category of Amazon's bestseller lists. March 23 the category wasn't so obscure. Emerald 3 hit the #1 spot for 'science fiction romance short story' on Amazon. Holy moly.
To celebrate, I'm giving away a free copy of the full story (yep, including the nocturnal goings-on of Fioran and Alohxi) to the first five people who leave a comment on this post and send me their contact information via my Contact page. You'll need to specify which format you prefer. I can send HTML, EPUB, and PDF.
Thank you for celebrating with me, and I hope you enjoy meeting Fioran, Alohxi, and the tree people of Emerald 3."
To be a novelist you must be a student of human nature. Makes sense. We write stories about people and to be credible, our characters must act like real people. But our stories have to be interesting so we put the emotional screws to our characters and watch them react. So how should they react?
What fascinates me is that while we like to pretend that we're open-minded, rational, and sophisticated, the truth is that we're pretty identical to our caveman ancestors. In fact, for most of the 200,000 years that homo sapiens have been around, people much like us wandered naked in the wilderness, hunting and gathering, building fires, and no doubt trying to scramble up the food chain. Coping behavior was encoded into that inherited part of human consciousness responsible for survival--aka, the lizard brain. It could be little things. We like bling because shiny baubles remind us of water, a necessity for survival. We eat sweets because in nature, sweet foods gave us nutrients missing in woolly mammoth meat. Outsiders were rivals and today, we're wary of anyone who doesn't look or act like us. Sex? Think about it, our ancestors had to get their freak on regardless of plague or ruin, otherwise that would've been the end of us as a species. They even had prehistoric sex toys and porn. Considering that soap wasn't invented until Roman times (or maybe it was the Babylonians), our boinking caveman forebears must've been some rank motherfuckers.
Having said that, we're not animals, meaning we understand in the abstract the consequences of what we do. Success as a writer may be ingrained in our desire for greater esteem within our tribe, but the discipline of writing requires that we muffle our lizard brain, sit our ass down at the keyboard and work. The caveman inside us can never be used as an excuse for our individual failings.
Our blessed Kat Richardson shares a gooey enchilada with her thoughts on the ongoing e-publishing ruckus. Trust me, she is as brainy as she is easy on the eyes.
And BFF to the Biting-Edge, J.A. Kazimer continues her contest. It's free swag, people!
Until I heard the news about Liz Taylor's passing, I was going to start on a cheery note. An "I love spring" kind of thing --the longer days. The warmer days. I still love spring. But I'm sad that another icon is gone. Elizabeth Taylor was beautiful in her youth, tireless in her battle for gay rights and support of AIDS research, ferocious in her love life, fiercely loyal to her friends and arguably one of the best actresses of my generation. She was Cleopatra and she was the harridan in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf--two sides of the same coin. We haven't seen her much lately, but we knew she was around.
It's depressing to know she's not around anymore.
I have lots of goodies for you this week, but before I get started, a wee commercial reminder:
I'd love to see you.
**And for the writers in our audience, it's time for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers annual Colorado Gold Conference.
28th Annual Colorado Gold Writing Contest 2011
For unpublished writers of COMMERCIAL novel-length fiction.
Here's your chance to get your novel in the hands of an acquiring agent or editor.
Submit the first twenty pages of your manuscript and an eight-page synopsis. Two judges from RMFW will evaluate and score each entry. The FIVE highest-scoring submissions above 130 points in each category will make the finals, and then be judged by an agent or editor who is attending the Colorado Gold Conference. One winner will be picked in each category. Winners receive $100.00 and a certificate. The remaining finalists will receive $30.00 and a certificate. Winners will be announced at the Colorado Gold Writers Conference, September 9-11, 2011 at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver, Colorado.
· NEW FOR 2011 Young Adult (YA) - All YA, Coming of Age
· Romance - Traditional, Long, Short, Single Title, Suspense, Paranormal, Historical, Regency, Time Travel, Futuristic, Fantasy
· Speculative Fiction - Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, New Age, Supernatural, Alternative History, Tie-in
From Deadline.com :Salma Hayek and her Ventanarosa Productions have joined Clark Peterson and Ron Senkowski to produce an animated feature based on the Kahlil Gibran book The Prophet…
The Prophet is one of the best-selling books of all time, having sold over 100 million copies since its original publication in 1923. Gibran, a Lebanese-American, is the third-most-read poet in history after Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu, and has been translated into more than 40 languages…
Animated feature? Don't know about this one.
From the Hollywood Reporter : BEIJING – Neil Gaiman, the award-winning writer of The Sandman comics and the novella Coraline, has signed on to pen English scripts for a big-budget series of 3D feature films based on Journey to the West, China’s classic novel about the adventures of the Monkey King.
Gaiman, who grew up in England reading the 16th century epic fantasy in translation and watching a Japanese version of it on the BBC, joins one of China’s most prominent television producers, Zhang Jizhong, for his long-planned big-screen trilogy, replacing an earlier screenwriter, the two men said on Thursday.
Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) will play the role of Katniss in The Hunger Games, based on the bestselling novels by Suzanne Collins, the Wrap reported. Lionsgate "plans the franchise as a trilogy which will include The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) is directing the film, which will debut on March 23, 2012."
Several actors are rumored to be under consideration for the role of Peeta Mellark, including Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number Four), Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right, Bridge to Terabithia) and Hunter Parrish (Weeds), the Wrap wrote
Matthew Fox (Lost) will play an assassin in I, Alex Cross, "the reboot of the James Patterson franchise character that's being put together by QED with Tyler Perry starring and Rob Cohen directing," Deadline.com reported. Ed Burns has been cast as Tommy Kane, Cross's partner.
Not waiting with bated breath for this one either but I know there are lots of Patterson fans out there...not to mention Matt Fox fans...
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Anybody out there in the Albuquerque area? Want to be in the new Avenger movie? Here's your chance.
Open Extras Casting Call: The Avengers Posted: 03-07-2011 Url: no data available Info:
When: Friday, March 25: noon-4pm And Saturday, March 26: 10am-3pm
Where Hotel Albuquerque (Weavers Room) 800 Rio Grande Blvd. NW Albuquerque
This is the official extras casting call for "The Avengers" feature film held by Marvel Studios Extras Casting Director Maryellen Aviano.
Scheduled to film Albuquerque area late April-late July.
We'd love to hire as many NM residents as possible so please come well groomed & dressed in your business executive best!
Pictures will be taken at no charge.
Over 18 only, will accept current non-returnable pics of kids that can obtain work permits if necessary.
Bring a pen & NO PHONE CALLS please!
That's it for now-- next week a little tour of Anna's world brought to you by two wonderful readers who went in search of the real Anna Strong and shared what they found!
Your pretty words aren't enough
Mario here: There's a saying in baseball: When you hit the ball, don't forget the follow through.
When you get published, one of the big eye-openers is how much self-promotion you must do--the follow through. It's not enough that you've written a brilliant book: now you have to hawk the damn thing. Years ago, a website was cutting edge, especially if you had a newsletter. Then came blogging. You not only slapped together content for your own blogsite, but were expected to do a lot of guest blogging and virtual book tours on others' blogs. Soon afterwords we had social media. MySpace splashed big then sank, torpedoed by the much handier and more intuitive Facebook. Now we have Twitter-mania.
All this noodling online is piled on top of the time you must spend arranging signings, book club and library talks, radio and television appearances, coming up with pitches for conference programs. Basically, scrambling for any opportunity to stump your stuff (while writing your next book on the side).
We authors try some old-fashioned swag to help you remember us like...
buttons and pens,
bookmarks, business cards, and postcards.
While it's hard to calculate exactly how much good these bits of blatant self-promotion may actually do, it is gratifying to attend a far-flung conference and see your button hanging off a fan's badge lanyard. Yes!
An SUV done up as a rolling press release. Not only was the truck covered in snazzy advertising film but also carried a loud speaker for God knows what audio promotion? So who was the author, Cathie Beck? I went inside the coffee shop and found her with a friend ordering coffee. Beck was a friendly blonde oozing charisma, her voice spiced with a darling New Orleans accent. She explained that she had gotten the film in trade for marketing work she had done for a graphics company. Though seemingly cheesy and garish, Beck told me it was a surprisingly effective promotional gimmick, having snagged her interviews and book club appearances. And the loud speaker? She plays music to imbibe by.
There's a saying in the publishing business. Never say never. There is always an exception. For example, our own Jeanne was told that a book published by a small press would never get picked up by a major NY house. And we know what happened.
Cathie Beck shared her exceptional story. Her manuscript had been rejected by 68 editors during two rounds through the NY publishers. Frustrated though not beaten, she decided to self-publish using Amazon's print-on-demand. We authors have heard the sermon many times: Self-publish and you might as well tie cement bricks to your career. Offering your book as print-on-demand is literary euthanasia. But Beck had faith in her book. She leveraged her skills as a marketing pro in a relentless marketing campaign that made Cheap Cabernet an Amazon Number One bestseller. Then came juicy vindication when ten of the editors who had previously rejected the book contacted her with offers. She sold the rights at auction to Hyperion.
Beck explained the publishing business using an appropriate Southern metaphor: if your dog goes off into the woods and dies, don't expect to get anymore book deals.
Considering the title of her book, Beck has cleverly branded herself as the Denver Wine Wench. And we at the Biting-Edge are all in favor of wine...and wenches!
But she's gone far beyond pushing her book or tempting the world with the pleasures of the fermented grape. Check out her events page. Clearly, Cathie Beck is a woman who knows the value of the follow through.
If you're in the Denver area, look for Mario at a pub near you...
However, did you know that there was another March holiday that I suspect explains a lot about Mario?
March 20, coinciding with the first day of spring, is Extraterrestrial Abduction Day. Last year there was a festival in Toronto and websites like this one offer tips on how to avoid being abducted.
Too late for Mario. He always get a little wonky around this time of year. I thought it was spring allergies. Now I know the real reason.
On to some personal stuff. I just got the new cover for Crossroads. Here it is:
You who know my history with covers, know I pretty much hate them all at first sight. No reflection on the artist, who is great, it's just that I have such a definite image of Anna in my head. HOWEVER, this one is the exception. I really like it. How about you?
The second thing is that Whedonistas, the anthology dedicated to Joss Whedon by women writers who are fans (read:fanatics), is now available. The reviews have been good and sales are brisk. I am lucky enough to have a piece in it and I want to take this opportunity to thank my good friend, Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy. She recommended me to the editors who issued the invitation. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, click the above link and they'll fix you up. Tell them Jeanne sent you.
Also coming is Vampires: The Recent Undead. Release date of March 22 (moved back from an earlier date). I know I've mentioned it before but it has some terrific vampire writers in it. Just check out the list on the cover. I'm definitely the small fish in this pond.
And one last bit of BSP-- Here's the HEXED cover flat:
This one debuts June 11.
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On a serious note, what's going on in Japan is a disaster of proportions unfathomable to most of us. The League of Reluctant Adults want to help in some small way so here's what we're doing. We are holding an auction (actually two) on Ebay.
What are we selling?
Get a helpful critique from a group of authors from the League of Reluctant Adults! (Team Claw)
Highest bidder (100% of proceeds go to the Red Cross to help Japan) gets to submit a synopsis and first batch of pages (up to 6000 words between the two - you decide how that works) of any fiction project for "expert analysis" by Team Claw, a group of authors from the League of Reluctant Adults! (We're a group of published authors of urban fantasy, young adult, and paranormal romance; see our blog here
Team Claw members: Sonya Bateman, Michele Bardsley, Carolyn Crane, Kevin Hearne, Jackie Kessler, Diana Rowland, Jeanne Stein
What you get: We'll each commit to taking at least an hour to read your stuff and let you know what we think is working great, and what we think isn't working, and give ideas for improvement. Some members may concentrate more on the synopsis, some on the pages, but we'll all be giving our best constructive advice.
Be ready to get a spectrum of opinions, and possibly disagreement between league members, either noted on the document itself or on separate documents. It'll be like we're all sitting in a room, discussing your story and early pages. You will have six months to submit your document (Microsoft Word ideal), we'll have a month to look it over and comment. (note, this is for craft/story feedback only, and not in any way a guarantee of representation or publication). At the end, we'll email your word doc back, full of all of our comments, either on the document, or on separate documents.
100 % of the final sale price will go to the American Red Cross. Bidding closes on March 22. If you'd like to enter the auction, here's the link
So if you've wondered what you could do to help, consider this. It might be of benefit to you, too.
Where do you get your ideas? It's a question commonly put to what our society calls the creative types: artists, writers, and musicians. I'm always stumped by the desire to give an answer that's snarky or dumb. Where don't I get my ideas?
I think that question comes from people who are intimidated by the blank page or canvas. Everyone taps into their creative side. Lawyers always look for the legal angle. Civil bureaucrats for ways to screw us with taxes. For them, no blank canvas stares back as there is already a network of requirements and processes, and it's easy to quantify what works and what doesn't.
The difference for the creative types is that we are expected to come up with something both original and catchy. We're expected to tread over boundaries and act as if we make something from nothing.
For most of my writer and artist friends, the issue is not a dearth of ideas but a lack of time to work them all out. That damn Muse is such a task master. Always a bitch!
When God give you a talent, he also hands you a whip. Truman Capote
It's not that I consider myself especially talented, but I do work hard. As a writer and student of the crazy, stupid, and obscene, I turn to true crime stories for inspiration. Certainly I can come up with plenty of my own tales, however, life always trumps art. The news gives me details and motives that flesh out a good story. A sadistic serial killer who gets trapped by the police when he feels he's not getting due credit for his gruesome deeds. A mild-mannered geek murders his wife because she gets on his case for doing cocaine, which he consumes to cope with her growing weight. An astronaut dons a diaper and treks nonstop from Texas to Florida to confront her sexual rival. How can you make this up?
Other times, I overhear a morsel of gossip, and my mind races to complete the story.
As for my art, I'm a representational artist, meaning I paint a person, it looks like a certain person, I paint a landscape, it looks like a landscape. But as in writing, it's all about interpretation. What are the details I focus on? What is my style? How do other artists combine subjects to produce something that is both representational and expressive as does Rene Farkass. How do I stretch my abilities without compromising my style or copying? How do I keep from going stale?
I can understand the frustration of musicians. They write a hit song and are told, make another one, only different and better. It's not easy tapping into the universe and understanding what the Muse is trying to tell us. What works for you?
HBO will air a 15-minute sneak peek of the first episode of new series Game of Thrones on Sunday, April 3, ahead of the fantasy series' premiere on April 17. Part Three of HBO's miniseries Mildred Pierce, which was scheduled for 9 PM that night, will now start at 9:15 PM. Following the one-time-only play, the Game of Thrones preview will be available online and on demand.
New stamps for Great Britain--Features some of the world's greatest wizards, wtiches and enchanters. Full gallery here .
What? Where's Harry?
Speaking of Daniel Radcliffe. What new roles would you like to see him take on?
Variety reports the actor will star in the indie comedy The Amateur Photographer based on Christopher Monger’s novel of the same name (he’ll also write the screenplay and direct himself). In the film, which takes place in 1970, Radcliffe will play a young man who’s drafted to be a photographer for the people of a small New England town, capturing all their most intimate moments while at the same time discovering his artistic calling.
NewTrailer for True Blood, Season Four with spoilers here .
New and innovative way to amuse your baby with your old rejection letters:
From the people who brought you NaNoWriMo, a new opportunity - Script Frenzy
Script Frenzy is the Office of Letters and Light's springtime writing escapade. Our goal: writing a movie, play, or graphic novel in April. Partnering is encouraged. All kinds of scripts are allowed, including adaptations of your NaNoWriMo novel. The t-shirts are stunning! No experience is necessary! Script Frenzy's Scriptwriting How-To's will teach you everything you need to know. We even have a machine on the Script Frenzy homepage that generates Oscar-ready plots 24 hours a day.
And I'll finish with an announcement about a new signing I'm doing with Lizzie T. Leaf and Melissa Mayhue:
CondorCon pics not in yet so that will have to be for another time. Hope this was enough new stuff to keep you all busy for the week.