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, August 29, 2011
What happened to my future?
Just got in from Bubonicon 43. Had an awesome time with the usual libations (courtesy of the Starfleet USS Anasazi), the bawdy guests, and generally outrageous behavior. Ahem...
The con theme was Steampunk, and I moderated the panel: Steampunk Definitions: More than Victorian Clothing. We discussed the growing popularity of Steampunk, especially considering that not long ago, quite a few in the publishing industry were convinced the subgenre was a short-lived gimmick. Of course steampunk hasn't faded, but flourishes. The panel batted around ideas about why the genre endures and one that caught hold was steampunk fills the Wow! void since science fiction has lost much of its sense of wonder and amazement. I mean, we are in the 21st century and what happened to the promise of intergalactic travel, anti-gravity boots, and flying cars?
Star Trek may have had warp drive and teleportation but the audience's gee-whiz factor has been hijacked by the iPhone. In this respect, we've outpaced the future. And consider, the US no longer has a manned space program and our astronauts will have to bum rides into orbit from the Russians.
So readers and writers have turned back the calendar and extrapolated the cool What Ifs? of the past. Airships, check. Steam-powered cars and robots, check. Clockwork what-have-youze, check.
If it's Thursday, it must be Jeanne...
Every author I know would love to do this:
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The top ten bestselling authors between May 2010 and April 2011:
James Patterson ($84 million)
Danielle Steel ($35 million)
Stephen King ($28 million)
Janet Evanovich ($22 million)
Stephenie Meyer ($21 million)
Rick Riordan ($21 million)
Dean Koontz ($19 million)
John Grisham ($18 million)
Jeff Kinney ($17 million)
Nicholas Sparks ($16 million)
Ken Follett ($14 million)
Suzanne Collins ($10 million)
J.K. Rowling ($5 million)
Every author I know would love to be on this list, too.
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The newest wrinkle in the e-book world: From Shelf Awareness and the New York Times
In the film versions of “Pride and Prejudice” the music jumps and swells at all the right moments, heightening the tension and romance of that classic Jane Austen novel.
Will it do the same in the e-book edition?
Booktrack, a start-up in New York, is planning to release e-books with soundtracks that play throughout the books, an experimental technology that its founders hope will change the way many novels are read.
Its first book featuring a soundtrack is “The Power of Six,” a young-adult novel published by HarperCollins, soon to be followed by “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “Jane Eyre,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Three Musketeers.”
So what do you ebook fans think of this idea? Would you like it or would it be distracting?
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Ray Bradbury's classic to be adapted for the screen. From Deadline.com
Mike Medavoy and Doug McKay, Vice-President of Production at Phoenix Pictures, have teamed up with legendary writer Ray Bradbury, RGI Productions’ Rodion Nahapetov (who is penning the screenplay), and producer Natasha Shliapnikoff to produce the feature film adaptation of Bradbury’s classic novel “Dandelion Wine.”
Bradbury, who turns 91 on Monday remarked, “This is the best birthday gift I could ask for. Today, I have been reborn! ‘Dandelion Wine’ is my most deeply personal work and brings back memories of sheer joy as well as terror. This is the story of me as a young boy and the magic of an unforgettable summer which still holds a mystical power over me.”
Does this get you Ray Bradbury fans excited? Can't believe he's 91!!!
Celebrities who are also readers have a slight advantage over the rest of us, in that they "often making tens of thousands of dollars for just showing up somewhere, have no such financial restraints and may indulge themselves with those epic home libraries the rest of us can only dream about." Presented as evidence by AccreditedOnlineColleges.com are "20 celebrities with stunning home libraries."
My favorite is Diane Keaton's (above).
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Another bit from Shelf Awareness:
Don't try this with a Kindle. Summer reads will take on a whole new meaning next year when waterproof paperbacks hit the beaches and pools. The Telegraph reported that a "clear wax sealant will prevent running ink and stop pages from becoming soggy and tearing when wet. The tough polymer coating is tear-resistant and promises to increase a title's shelf-life by up to 200%." Alan Cork's The Greater Bad will be the first book to receive the coating, and should be available next May.
Agatha Christie may have been one of the U.K.'s first "stand-up" surfers, according to researchers who discovered that the creator of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple "was something of a pioneering and diehard wave-rider. At a time when many of her contemporaries were chugging cocktails in Blighty, Agatha Christie was paddling out from beaches in Cape Town and Honolulu to earn her surfing stripes," the Guardian reported.
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I loved Mario's post on Monday. We all try to figure out what we can do to jump that hurdle into NYT's Bestsellerdom but as far as I know, the only one who can make that happen is your publisher. Erin Morgenstern's story is a case in point. There are others, Marie Liu springs to mind, who are being positioned to be the NEXT BIG THING IN YA...but it's always a crap shoot. I look forward to reading both Erin's and Marie's books. I admit it. I'm a sucker for YA and I read them trying to figure out what the magic formula is that tripped that agent or editor's fancy enough to offer the big bucks.
I have to add, though, that I know how lucky I am to be published with seven books out there and a dozen short stories in various anthologies. My hope is to keep building that readership and keep those contracts coming.
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Two more chances to win books and goodies before the debut of Crossroads:
It's the dream of every novelist. Your debut novel scores a fat advance. And a movie deal. Your publisher pulls out all the stops to market the panties off your book. Buzz for your novel sizzles everywhere.
I'd like to tell you, dream on pal. But it does happen.
In fact, despite the cold shoulder most writers get from publishers, their editors are always on the prowl for The Next Big Thing. Winner to get scads of fame and dump trucks of cash.
You can do it. All you need is this simple formula: young love + fantasy = drama.
After Harry Potter ran its course, New York was out in the hustings, beating the brush for their anointed one. Out of the blue, they discovered Stephenie Meyer, a Mormon suburban housewife whose tale of chaste human and undead lovers was inspired by a dream. So this unlikely source begat the biggest vampire craze ever.
We're aware of the Twilight backlash, and so you're probably familiar with this bit of snark from the Master of the Macabre, Stephen King:
"Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend."
I'm not going to critique or defend Meyer's books but I will point out that King, for all his smarts, missed the point of the Twilight fables.
(Sidebar: I never read any of the Twilight books, they're not for me. And I seldom read horror, either. Or much fantasy. I lean toward hard-boiled mysteries where sketchy people do dastardly deeds. Vampires? A zombie plaque? Yawn. But a crack head breaking into my house and gutting me for pocket change--that I can relate to.
I'm often complimented on my luck to have written vampire novels during the Twilight meme. About the only thing Twilight has done for my career is remind me how low I exist on the publishing totem pole. All but the smallest dogs can pee on me.)
So the point is, Twilight books are the few I've heard discussed at length at parties, in cafés or bars. Only by women, for sure. Note the key word: women. Sixty percent of fiction readers are women. A lot of critics dismiss Twilight as an adolescent read for naive teenage girls. Yet I've heard worldly, experienced, even skanky-type females gush over Meyer's stories. Not all women, but enough (along with the teenagers and tweens) to have made the Twilight franchise a behemoth that kept the publishing industry from sinking like a dying tuna. During the darkest days of the recent publishing implosion, Meyer's books represented 18 percent of the entire publishing market. So while horror, science-fiction, traditional mystery, and literary fiction lost readers (or more correctly, buyers), novels about love--romance-->finding a boyfriend<--continued to sell big time.
Winnie-the-Pooh turns 90 on August 21. If you'd like to send him a birthday card, the New York Public Library will be celebrating his birthday at the Library's Children's Center at 42nd Street all month and is accepting cards on Pooh Bear's behalf. It's an appropriate destination, since Christopher Robin Milne's "original Winnie-the-Pooh doll set--including Winnie, of course!--is at the Library, on view in the Children's Center, in a special room surrounded by art of the 100 Acre Wood!"
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From Buzzfeed : 10 Famous Fictional Characters You Didn’t Know Were Based On Real People. This is pretty cool!
Shrek's appearence is based on that of pro-wrestler Maurice Tillet, a man born with a rare disease called acromegaly.
Who knew?Check out the others.
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Don't think I've posted this masterpiece yet-- the winner of the Bulwer-Lytton prize for bad writing went this year to:
"Cheryl's mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories"
YUCK on so many levels!!
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Now this is interesting: George R. R. Martin says Game of Thrones scripts stolen...by a postal worker yet. The story here . The scripts, signed by Martin and co-creator David Benioff as well as Alan Taylor, director for the last two episodes, were to be auctioned off at WorldCon's charity auction this week. They would have fetched big bucks. Martin tells his fans to keep their eyes peeled for word of the scripts appearing on line.
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Movies to consider!
Knights of Badassdom--who could ask for anything more?
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Conan--I love Ron Perlman!!
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And speaking of Ron Perlman...
Perhaps my favorite TV show!! New season starts next month. And to show how prepared I am:
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I think I mentioned going to Ikea ...This place is humongus. I bought a goose down pillow and the care instructions are written in 29 languages--unfrigginbelievable!
You literally need a map to get around!
OKAY-- I have to slip in a paid political announcement here-- Crossroads debuts in two weeks (August 30). Please check my website for signings and con appearances. Short list is here:
Tattered Cover – Denver (Signing at the Highlands Ranch location August 31 7:30PM)
And thank you for your attention!!! See you next week. When my nails will be bitten to the quick and the bags under my eyes because I can't sleep become steamer trunks...This is the downside to being a writer!!!
The big news is that my oldest son, Alex (the family money man), graduated this week with his MBA from the Daniels School of Business at the University of Denver.
The procession where you can see the master's hoods. The colors indicate discipline and university.
The provost carried the official university mace--a.k.a the beatin' stick--made of Colorado silver, gold, and precious stones. Despite howls of protest (mainly from me), the mace wasn't used to sacrifice anyone to appease the gods.
I promise, I promise, I swear that next week I'll have something good for you. My bestest friend, Ron Jessee, is here from San Diego and we're off for three days of fun...starting with seeing Harry Potter which neither of our partners want to see. That's why I love having him here. He does things I like to do...so today it's Ikea, smart lunch, Harry Potter, home for scallops and a movie marathon. Wow-- it's like a vacation!!!
Done hexing...for now!
Sayonara Mucho Mojo and RomCon2011. It was nice. It was real. And it's over.
The loooooong weekend started with Thursday's Mucho Mojo hijinks at MadWines, courtesy of Denver Public Library's Fresh City Life program. Jeanne, Kimberly Frost, and Nicole Peeler laid us out with their assorted charms and pervy erotic readings. We cooled off afterwords at the Mercury Cafe where Kimberly and Nicole posed under the famous flying tiger.
Olivia Cunning shows off her fabulous RomCon Readers Crown trophies (major jealousy here at Biting-Edge corporate headquarters. We want one!)
The dealers room included jewelry sales that support the Colorado Association of Libraries benefit for Bulgarian libraries. Major cool move.
Besides panels and schmoozing, we all had plenty of real-world homework (that unfortunately interfered with our drinking). Jeanne and Kimberly practically shoot sparks out their ears as they hack at deadlines.
Once the con fun and games were over, we hoofed it to the Broadway Book Mall for a signing that included Lizzie T. Leaf (center) and to her left, Melissa Mayhue (who was so proud of her sparkly covers!)
To cap off the fun and gird ourselves for the return to planet Earth, we trekked to the Interstate Kitchen & Bar, where Nicole shared her appreciation of good head.
And finishing up with a signing at the Broadway Book Mall
Mario and I will be hanging around together all weekend. Pray for me. And check out Westword for a peek at some spicy passages from our Mucho Mojo buddies....
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On a sad note: As most of you know, Leslie (L.A.) Banks passed away this week. I met Leslie at a book fair in Georgia when The Becoming was first released. She was warm, welcoming and so funny, she had us all in stitches. I didn't know her well, but I her knew her well enough to really like her. She will be missed.
If you follow this link to the Reluctant Adults League blog, you will read some other comments by authors who share their memories of Leslie with readers.