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, July 31, 2011
We're Going to HEX you up!
Like most of you out there in Internet land, we're melting like chocolate truffles on a hot plate. Hot?Try scorching! And made even hotter and more scorching by Denver's first ever County Fair! After a hundred and fifty years, zilchero until this weekend.
Being a county fair, urban farming got a major plug. Lots of prize tomatoes, squash, and other veggies plus the newly allowed (within the city limits) chickens, ducks, and dwarf goats. Also on display, raptors that eat said chickens, ducks, and goats.
Being Denver, everything got a big-city snarky twist, from kid's dioramas...
to Steampunk... Local MileHiCon fans should recognize the fashionable Chelsea Lowe and Zachary Byron Helm...
and their stylish wheels for the urban commute...
Take a deep breath! Now pump your little fists and let out a big SQUEEE! It's almost here! Mucho Mojo!
This Thursday, 7-9pm, August 4, at MadWine Bar, 1200 Acoma St, in Denver. In conjunction with Fresh City Life and those good folks at the Denver Public Library, Urban Fantasy authors Kimberly Frost, Nicole Peeler, and our own Jeanne Stein, promise to Hex You Up! You'll get free DIY mojo bags for special talismans provided by the authors. And then we'll get down with some adult erotic readings from each others' work. Things could get STEAMY! Fortunately, you'll have the opportunity to cool off with appropriately adult beverages.
And then, Mucho Mojo Round Two, Sunday, 4pm, August 7 at the Broadway Book Mall, 200 S Broadway, Denver. We'll be joined for a reading and signing by Melissa Mayhue and Lizzie T. Leaf.Five times the urban fantasy, five times the literary awesomeness!
What a week...
I love ComicCon. It's sensory overload to the 100th power, but there's an energy generated by a crowd (mostly) intent on having fun. It's the best people watching in the world. It's visiting with my editor (Jessica Wade) and publicist (Rosanne Romanello) and all the great Penguin people. It's breakfast with the Buffybuds and Sam Sommersby and Maryelizabeth Hart and Jeff Mariotte. It's seeing authors I admire like Rachel Caine and Kim Harrison and Carrie Vaughn. It's speaking with readers like the lovely Nikki Gillison who I met in person for the first time (she and her partner LaRay, did the Anna Strong photo tour). It's spending three days with my sis and doing nothing but watching movies and eating good Mexican food. It's spending time with my best bud, Ron Jessee and his partner, Louis Perez. It's being invited to my cousin's talented and gracious critique group and being honored by their willingness to share their work with me. It's walking up to Balboa Park with my hubby in the early morning and remembering why thinking of San Diego still makes us homesick.
Ah, but now it's back to reality...and work!
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Well, I'm on twitter. My "handle" is JeanneCStein. Very original, huh? Don't know how much time I'll actually tweet, but I joined for Wednesday's Hexed "chat" and that really was fun. I'll have to lurk for awhile and see how people use it. What about you? If you're on, let me know and I'll follow you. What do you talk about? How often a day do you post?
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New John Carter trailer—movie coming next year. From i09 :
Andrew Stanton's adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, "rips you open with the sword of Martian awesomeness," io9 observed, adding: "It's chock full of swordplay, heroic destiny, cool-looking ships, and insane Martian vistas. Can we wait? We cannot."
Me, either! I imagine all the ERB fan boys in our critique group are counting the days, right, Mario, Warren, Aaron?
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This is kind of cool...can you guess what it is carved from?
Sometimes I make myself nuts because I miss the most obvious things. If any of you have checked the product description on Amazon for Crossroads, this is what you read:
After the death of Anna's old vampire mentor causes ripples in the mortal world, Anna needs to lie low. But when Max-an FBI agent and Anna's former flame-comes to her with reports that bodies are showing up on the Mexican border drained of blood, Anna has no choice but to get involved, both with the case and with the man who broke her heart.
What the...??? First, Max is a DEA agent, not an FBI agent. Second, this segment was one episode and really had nothing to do with the main plot of the book. Third, the man who broke Anna's heart? Please...
Both my editor and publicist are working on getting it corrected. It should read something like this:
As a bounty hunter, Anna Strong knew how to find trouble. But now that she’s a vampire, trouble seems to have a knack for finding her…
The death of Anna’s old vampire nemesis is causing ripples in the mortal world. His forensic report has brought up some anomalies and people are asking questions—questions that no vampire wants to answer.
Anna needs to lie low, but the sudden discovery of a slew of drained bodies near the Mexican border brings an old flame back into her life and with him, a new challenge.
Then, some stunning news from an unexpected source sends Anna and her friend Daniel Frey on a journey that may change both their lives—forever.
Doesn't that sound more like an Anna Strong story?
Julie Newmar, Jennifer Aniston...RAWR!
Quote of the Week...comes from ComicCon--specifically the panel reuniting the cast of the Batman TV series: Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar (the first Catwoman). West revealed how he got the role: "I was hired to play Batman because they saw a commercial I'd done for Nestle's Quik," West recalled, and they said, 'This is the turkey to play him.' "
Julie Newmar, back when. I was in the fourth grade when the TV show first came out, and I ran to Woolworths to buy a Batman cap/mask. It was a black-felt beanie with small Batman ears. The short bill had eye holes and was sewn to point down instead of horizontally. I took mine to school the next day but was too embarrassed to wear it until I noticed everyone had one. Holy Geekdom! For a while, those ridiculous Batman cap/masks were everywhere, and now you can't even find one eBay.
I've been slacking on my reading so no book report this week. Blame the heat which I escaped in a nice, cool air-conditioned theater. Twice.
First up. Captain America. Lots of dazzle. Wonderful 1940s aesthetics but the story didn't measure up to the SFX. A comic book on the big screen. More of a prequel than anything else.
And then...Horrible Bosses. Three put-upon schmucks scheme to kill their tyrant bosses. Well...ahem...seeing Jennifer Aniston as the über-cougar Dr. Julia Harris practically fall out of her dentist's smock while talking so filthy she'd make Mark Henry blush, that alone was worth the price of admission. So I vote YES! For purely artistic reasons, of course.
The funniest scenes were of the three white guys wandering into a seedy ghetto bar in search of a hit man. They find Jamie Foxx--an ex-con poser whose most bad-ass trait is his moniker: Motherfucker Jones. ;-)
Foxx's character could've easily stolen the show but he was kept on a short leash. Why didn't he volunteer to take care of Dr. Harris' nymphomania?
No spoilers but the ending was a little too contrived and cute. Still----------------------->
Any summertime movie favorites on your list?
Don't forget...Mucho Mojo Nicole Peeler, Kimberly Frost, and Jeanne Stein, Thursday, Aug 4, 7-9pm, at Madwine Bar & Novo Coffee, Denver.
And then Lizzie T. Leaf and Melissa Mayhue join the team for a signing on Sunday, Aug 7, 4pm at the Broadway Book Mall, Denver.
I'm in San Diego getting ready for ComicCon by taking a few days off with my sis. We had a Hercule Poirot marathon and just got started on film noir but I found so much stuff for this week's blog, I thought I'd better get started.
What to do first? Maybe Harry Potter? From Buzzfeed :
20 Alcoholic Beverages Inspires by the Harry Potter Series
Just two of my favorites:
Ingredients: 1/2 part Cinnamon Aftershock 1/2 part Goldschläger Instructions: 'First layer the Aftershock, then layer the Goldschläger on top. It's best if you shake the Goldschläger first so you can get some gold flakes.'
Ingredients: 1 part gin 1 part vodka 2 parts cranberry juice 1 splash Grenadine Instructions: 'Combine ingredients in a snifter over ice. Dry ice optional.'
And this nice piece that I think I got from Shelf Awareness or UK Guardian, but for some reason I didn't not the source. My apologies. In it, she thanks a fan who wrote how much the HP books meant to her. Worth searching out a magnifying glass.... oops-- found the link
Particularly liked the last line... Classy lady.
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Doggy Bookends from Buzzfeed —under the heading, it’s always nice to include your pets in household duties.
A short examination of the art of the pun, narrated by George Gopen, Professor of the Practice of Rhetoric at Duke University and principal judge for the inaugural Durham Pun Championship at The Regulator Bookshop, July 9, 2011.
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This from Deadline Universal declines to make Stephen King's Dark Tower...
Universal has passed on going forward with the project, dealing a huge blow in the plan for Ron Howard to direct Akiva Goldsman's script, with Brian Grazer, Goldsman and the author producing and Javier Bardem starring as gunslinger Roland Deschain. Now, the filmmakers will have to find a new backer of what might well be the most ambitious movie project since Bob Shaye allowed Peter Jackson to shoot three installments of The Lord of the Rings back to back.
All I have to say about this next is WOW... Hunger Games Exclusive Motion Poster. See it in all it's fiery glory here
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Today I meet with my cousin's critique group at the home of another cousin in Oceanside. Should be fun...and interesting. I'm going to offer critiques. Hope I'm invited back.
So, what are you up to? Denverites, is it still hotter than hades??? I've updated my website (thanks, Jay Salam) so all upcoming appearances to date are noted. Stop by and take a look...
PS I have to add, back from my cuz's and his critique group has some of the most talented writers I've ever had the pleasure to visit with. Every item submitted was polished and well-written and every voice unique. I have a feeling we'll be hearing from some of them very soon. They were that good. So, thanks, Cousin Al, for inviting me! And Cousin Rich for sharing his beautiful home. And the Corona Writers Group for sharing their work.
PPS Two upcoming chats that you might drop in on--
Fresh Fiction Chat with the authors of Chicks Kick Butt
July 26 8pm Eastern / 7pm Central / 6pm Mountain / 5pm Pacific
Jeanne is presently at ComicCon, no doubt checking out superhero packages. Research she calls it.
Mark your calendars! We're about to slay you with more Mucho Mojo entertainment and snark than you can possibly stand. Not once, but twice.
Uno! A tag-team of professional snarkologists--Nicole Peeler, Kimberly Frost, and our own Jeanne Stein--will pound your funny bone silly (I love when that happens!) on Thursday, Aug 4, 7-9pm, at Madwine Bar & Novo Coffee, Denver.
Dos! Before the wounds heal, get ready for a second bruising when Lizzie T. Leaf and Melissa Mayhue join the team to take you on mano-a-mano! Sunday, Aug 7, 4pm at the Broadway Book Mall, Denver.
And now, our Feature Presentation!
Our exclusive interview with the real-life PI duo of Colleen Collins
and Shaun Kaufman.
Thanks Colleen and Shaun for this interview.
Thank you for having us!
Tell us about your latest project and when can we expect it to hit the streets?
It’s a non-fiction ebook How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths, which hit the virtual streets this month on Kindle and Nook. It is a compilation of our articles and suggestions to fiction writers writing sleuths, including examples from courses we've presented at regional and national writers' conferences. We also include dozens of writers’ questions, and our answers, about what a fictional sleuth might do in various scenarios.
What bugs you the most about reading PI fiction?
Colleen: When a fictional PI breaks the law and doesn’t seem to know or care. At least let me, the reader, know you’re committing a felony but that you’re doing it for a very good reason (to find a missing child, for example). It ups the stakes in the story when a PI is willing to break the law to do the right thing.
Shaun: Reading endless descriptions. We are conversation-driven in our work. Our jobs consist of talking to lawyers, clients, witnesses, police and other people about the case. I even have a dialogue with myself when I am alone in the field (and hear that dialogue in my head). I have read a lot of annoying PI literature that is not realistic because it consists of an author’s intellectual descriptive prose.
What true story or case would you like to fictionalize in a novel?
Two Tales of Self-Defense because the resolution of each made someone’s life better. One was set in the city, and another on an isolated ranch. The common thread between both was how hard we had to work to find exculpatory evidence. In our urban adventure, a young man was attacked by eight rival gang members. He stabbed two and claimed self-defense. No one would corroborate his story. He was charged with serious assault crimes. We handed out fliers and knocked on doors in a tough neighborhood in search of some anonymous witnesses (people didn’t want to come forward for fear of gang retaliation). Eventually, we found three neutral witnesses who we convinced to talk to us -- based on our interviews, the D.A. dismissed the case. In the second instance, out in the fields of eastern Colorado, our client was accused of shooting at some people who’d trespassed on his ranch. He claimed he fired warning shots away from the accusers; they claimed he tried to kill them. We spent hours with metal detectors on acres of barren ranchland before we found the bullets in a place that confirmed his story. The moral of the story: a PI has to work hard to get ahold of the truth.
Who are your favorite fiction PIs and why?
Colleen: Max Alan Collins, who knows how to craft page-turning hard-boiled stories. Lori Armstrong blows me away with her gritty, complex ex-sniper investigator-protagonist Mercy Gunderson. The unveiling of Reed Farrel Coleman’s PI character Moe Prager is as compelling as the storylines. Marcia Muller’s “first female detective” Sharon McCone for her tenacity and smarts.I could go on, but I’ll stop here.
What special powers (legal or supernatural) would you like to have as a PI?
Shaun: For all of our clients to pay full retainers.
Colleen: To be invisible!
What came first? Being a PI or being a writer?
Colleen: Writer, then PI.
Shaun: Lawyer, writer, PI.
What new writing projects are on the horizon?
We’re currently writing another book in our “dick” series: How to Be a Lawyer’s Dick: Legal Investigations 101. Might be our last dick book, not sure yet. Colleen’s fiction book The Zen Man (a contemporary tale of Nick and Nora) is making the rounds of agents.
You’ve got an impressive career as a writer. Where can we find some of your titles?
Colleen: I’ve written 20 novels, published by Harlequin (and one by Dorchester). If you look up “Colleen Collins” on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, they’re all there.Or most of them, anyway.
Shaun: The Colorado Department of Corrections.
Who are your favorite authors (or books)?
Shaun: Loren Estleman, Hunter S. Thompson.
Colleen: Jay McInerney, Dean Koontz, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Ken Bruen, Dennis Lehane, everybody I mentioned earlier, and many others…
What is your writing process? Pantser or plotter?
Colleen:Plotter.If Shaun wrote fiction, I’d put money on his being a pantser.Which in a way is how we handle investigations, too.
Do you get many “Aha!” moments for your writing? When do they usually happen and what do you do with this inspiration?
Colleen: Aha’s happen at any time.Because I don’t trust my memory, I grab anything available and jot down the idea.
One final question? If I’m paranoid that I’m being shadowed by a PI, what are some things I can do to cover my tracks?
Shaun: Walk or drive in the direction that you were going from when you noticed the tail.
Colleen: Look for (and toss) any GPS attachments under your vehicle. Take different routes in your daily routines. Drive a different vehicle.Dress differently (better yet, bring a change of clothes, hats and shoes with you so you can change on the fly). If you want to “one up” the PI, hire your own PI to track the PI and find out why you’re the subject of an investigation.
Thanks for the interview. Good luck gumshoeing!
Thank you, Mario, and Biting Edge!We enjoyed being your gumshoe guests.
I think we ARE in Kansas...
I know many of you live in CO-- what the fuck was that storm last night?????? I've never experienced an hour of solid thunder and lightening...not the flash, crack kind but the strobe-light-and-ground-shaking-earth-moving-never-letting-up kind. I love the rain and my lawn has never looked so good but last night was downright scary.
In other news...Mario did a very good job of recapping the Fox news thing-- my biggest complaint is that if this "researcher" had read either book, there is no way she could have confused them. In any case, it's over ...at least I think it is! I must admit, though, my new title, "Corrupter of the Youth of America", was kind of cool.
So, who's going to see Harry Potter the first night? Let's post a few reviews..I'm sure I won't see it until next week sometime (I'll be in San Diego for ComicCon) so I'm curious to hear what your reactions are.
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And speaking of ComicCon, here are the details of my panel:
Thursday: 4:00-5:00 No Damsels in Distress Here— Female voices in sci-fi and fantasy create kick-ass heroines. Danger just might be these girls' middle name. But no amount of bad guys can keep these ladies from doing what's right. Whether standing up for friends and family, or just plain kicking some ass, these girls don't shy away from a fight. Damsels on the panel include Marie Lu (Legend), Kathy Reichs (Bones & Virals series), Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires series), Jeanne Stein (The Anna Strong Chronicles), Merrie deStefano (Feast: Harvest of Dreams), Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville series), Seanan McGuire (The October Daye series), and Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dark Hunter novels). Moderated by Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy. Room 25ABC
Should be fun. And the rest of the week is full of visiting and eating and sneaking in to see some of the panels. No Joss Whedon stalking this year. I've given that up. And James Marsters isn't attending so that's out, too. I did hear that Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford would be hosting a sneak preview of Cowboys and Aliens but since that means standing in line for four hours, I'll pass on that one, too.
Another video--this from CJ Lyons--that I think a lot of our writer friends will appreciate:
5 Easy Steps to Format Your Ebook
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I think it's just about time for True Blood's new season to begin, isn't it? Seems the fans of TB are taking things seriously. This from Variety :
True Blood Fans Bare Buying Fangs
A long list of items will be in play this summer, as the new season of "True Blood" kicked off June 26. Six different versions of "True Blood" V-Moda headphones will hit stores, priced from $39.99 to $199.99. Both Sephora and Ultima stores will carry upmarket cosmetics line Tarte's new "True Blood"-branded cheek stain, lip liner and an eye shadow palate that comes in a specially designed box, with prices ranging from $24 to $52. And high-end handbag purveyor Hammitt will feature a new line of "True Blood" bags named after five of the show's characters. Prices for the bags, available only at select retailers, will land between $395 and $675.
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Coolest Bookcovers for 2011 (so far) from Huffington Post This is my favortie:
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And one last thing, I've posted my schedule for the release of Crossroads. I hope to see some of you at one or two of the events. In the meantime, this is something I'm doing next month as part of the RomCon experience. Mario made the poster. Ain't it grand????
The big news rattling around last week in these parts of the Internet was this piece of pseudo-science from Fox News. Seems our own Jeanne was singled out in this bit of invented controversy of how YA books are surprisingly X-Rated. Which raised eyebrows around here as:
1) Jeanne's Anna Strong series is not YA
2) while Jeanne doesn't shy away from sex (or her character Anna, for that matter), you'll find more explicit sex in the Bible. Well, it turns out the study researcher, Sarah Coyne, isn't much on research as she confused Jeanne's book Chosen for PC Cast's Chosen. Let's see, different authors, different publishers, different covers...an easy mistake to make if you're a lazy academic and more interested in pulling things out of your ass than providing the truth. Coyne could've contacted Jeanne, but that would've involved doing actual research and adhering to professional standards.
This last weekend I attended a family reunion in New Mexico and learned that my niece Nicolette Young (actually the daughter of my cousin Ana) was selected as Miss New Mexico's Outstanding Teen. Boo-ya! She was awarded a magnificent sash--and not merely a tiara--but an awesome crown. (So awesome, I'd wear it!) Next stop, Florida, for the Miss USA Outstanding Teen competition. Go Nicolette!
This week's book. Inca Gold by Clive Cussler. It's an eleven-hour drive from Denver to Las Cruces, NM. Coping with that dreadfully boring trip has led to the family tradition of listening to audio books. We've learned after several hit-and-misses with other writers that nobody spins a yarn like Cussler. It would be easy to dismiss this offering as yet another formulaic read, but Cussler is a master at delivering a set-piece pot boiler that grows increasingly intricate and engrossing by the minute. We cheer when Dirk Pitt shows up, one of the literary world's most enduring bad-asses. If you want heroes and villains, high adventure, and a damn good story, then Inca Gold shines like a treasure.
New League Books Out...among other things
First order of business is to pimp our League associates who have books out this week. Click on this link to get a recap of all the books and to see the covers. Thanks to Carolyn Crane for putting this together. Below is a list of the books and authors and their Amazon links.
Warner Bros won a multi-studio bidding war for the novel by Ally Carter. Screenwriter Shauna Cross is set to adapt.
Drew Barrymore is attached to produce with an eye to direct Heist Society, a young adult thriller being made by Warner Bros.
Barrymore joins Denise Di Novi and Di Novi Pictures' Alison Greenspan as producers on the project, which Warners won last year in a multi-studio bidding war for the novel by Ally Carter. Screenwriter Shauna Cross is set to adapt.
The book follows a young woman named Katarina Bishop who hails from an extended family of cat burglars and master thieves. The girl leaves her illicit life behind, but when her father is the prime suspect in the case of a mobster's missing art collection, she assembles a crew to track down the art and steal it back.
The studio is aging the characters a notch into their early 20s. Barrymore will also supervise the writing.
Now I haven't read the book, but this sounds a lot like the TV series Leverage but with twenty-year-olds, doesn't it?
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For an exclusive sneak peak of HP's episode in Gringott's Bank check here . Spoiler alert, though, Inside Movies says if you don't want to know what happens, don't peek.
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Want to test your literary home IQ? Whose house is this? The answer (and more literary houses) here
Can't you just imagine what's outside that window? What glorious view? Has to be water...the ocean maybe or a lake. And can't you imagine yourself curled up in that chair with a good book and a glass of wine? It's my fantasy library.
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So Wednesday was Mario's birthday. We celebrated at critique on Tuesday night and I'm sure he's still celebrating as we speak. He and I just finished a short story for the Bubonicon program which I think I can convince him to share with you after the con. We've decided we may just have to collaborate on something else. We actually had fun! He listened to me and everything!
And I guess I've made the big time. Excerpt from an article from Fox News:
In fact, researchers reported online June 8 in the Journal of Sex Research, books aimed at 12- and 13-year-olds were no less sexy than books aimed at readers ages 14 and up. In addition, sex was rarely presented in a healthy light: Contraceptives and practical consequences were almost never mentioned, said study researcher Sarah Coyne, a psychologist at Brigham Young University. (Brigham Young University is operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is the largest religious university in the United States.)
"I would never argue for censorship," Coyne told LiveScience. "But I do think we're missing something here."
The "Gossip Girl" books and a vampire series "The Anna Strong Chronicles" were two series that were particularly focused on sex, Coyne said.
Huh? The title of the article is Some Teen Books Surprisingly X-Rated... read it all here if you want. And note where the expert study was conducted. They could have at least mentioned my name so any teen perverted enough to want to find me, could. I mean, really....
Happy Fourth everybody. Enjoy the fireworks, picnics, and friends. And booze. Drink responsibly...meaning: share generously with your local writers and artists. Being creative makes us thirsty.
Despite the long weekend, we're not slacking off a bit at the Biting-Edge world corporate headquarters. In fact, we're turning up the Pimpage Machine to promote:
1) Lighthouse Writers Workshop has a new home. The Milheim House at 1515 Race Street in the Mile High City. Real classy digs that'll make you feel all writerly just walking through the front door. (Don't know what happens if you enter through the back.) Can't wait to bust the locale's cherry with a literary Bacchanalia. Soon, very soon.
2) Our mystery writer pals, Shaun Kaufman and Colleen Collins, real life husband-wife PIs, have published an awesome how-to ebook for you wanna-be gumshoes, How to Write a Dick. Buy your copy here.
3) Drop by the signing, 7:30PM, this Wednesday, July 6, at the Tattered Cover on Colfax for the collection, An Elevated View, Colorado Writers on Writing. Fellow authors include Kathy Brandt, Laurie Wagner Buyer, Margaret Coel, Mara Purl, Joe Stone, and Susan Tweit. Edited by W.C. Jameson. I've contributed an essay, "Cowboy Up," where I share the ups and downs about being an ink-stained scribe to the Muse. Needless to say, the process has kept me humble.