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, September 28, 2011
New Treatments for Old (and New) Stuff
I am not a fan, but since I know a lot of you are, here's the trailer:
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From EW’s Shelf Life Sept 14 on Border's demise:
This photo by Reddit user Jessers25 is just heartbreaking. While the subject matter is inherently sad, the thoughtful composition is what elicits an even stronger emotional response. The first thing that comes to mind with this photograph is the “rule of thirds”; note the way the structural components of the store cut the image into separate, contrasting color blocks: the gunmetal of the industrial carpet, the shadowy off-white of the ceiling, and the glare of corporate red. Note the curious placement of the wood panels—the asymmetry throws the viewer off-balance, leaving her unprepared and therefore devastated by the quiet irony of the Thomas Jefferson quote. Only after moments of reflection do you realize that “World History” are sneakily the cruelest words of all:
At an awards ceremony at George Mason University last Friday, Stephen King regaled audiences with a chapter from Doctor Sleep, his upcoming novel about a grown-up Danny Torrance from The Shining.
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I've been housebound this week ( a medical problem that was taken care of) and believe it or not, it's been great! I started serious work on a new project, read three books from author's who asked me to blurb, did a guest post, even did a couple of projects around the house I've been putting off.
Sometimes not being able to go to the gym, shop, run errands, or do housework frees you to let your creative juices flow. I know I have to get back to a regular schedule soon (in one more week) but I'm going to enjoy every moment of my house arrest.
Got a friend with a new book out this week, too. Cherie Priest's steam-punk Ganymede.
From her website: ... I do very much hope you’ll take a chance on this, my fourth Clockwork Century novel,* set in my alternate history universe with a drawn-out American Civil War complicated by a peculiar form of zombie uprising!
Cherie is a terrific writer and this is at the top of my TBR pile.
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I keep thinking of the blog post I did this week for Mina Kahn . She's doing a series of posts about inspiration. It got me wondering...what (or who) inspires you? As a writer? As a person? As an artist? Is inspiration an external or internal thing? I don't know exactly when my post goes up, but when it does, I'll share what I said. For the time being, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Last Friday, I attended a Friday 500 at Lighthouse Writers and the guest writer was cultural raconteur Jason Heller, which many of you Denver metroplex locals might recognize from his contributions to The Onion's AV section and Westword. Jason pimped his forthcoming book, the political satire Taft 2012, where former-president William Howard Taft reappears and is drafted to run--again--for US President. Jason discussed how he came to pen this novel and the evolution of his writing process, from angst-ridden wordsmith to professional literary sausage machine. In fact, I was there at the beginning when at last year's MileHiCon, Jason and I kicked around ideas for the book, which he was starting to draft. The novel is from Quirk Books, those folks responsible for masterpiece mash-ups such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Taft 2012--> Due January 2012
Now to vent:
The new Facebook...I hate the updates.
In the prehistoric days of the Internet--like a couple of years ago--when social media was so new a concept that it lacked a name (as in social media)...
Lo, there was MySpace, a good thing we writers were told. Go forth and friend your way to the bestseller list. But MySpace became as cumbersome as a brontosaurus.
Then Facebook arrived and starved out MySpace (and its dinosaur cousin Friendster). Facebook was the place to be. But the pitiless and relentless cycle of high-tech Darwinism continues and now Goggle+ threatens to choke FB.
FB attempts to justify its relevance by reinventing itself, at our expense. What don't I like?
The news feed for starters. What am I supposed to do with that? It's just more noise. As it is, I've tuned out the side banner chatter. FB assumes it is a priority in my life on the Internet, but it's not. And now with its changes, even less so. I don't have the time nor the inclination to futz around with FB, and resent that I've been forced to.
Some of you say, don't complain, because FB is a free service. Make no mistake, you are paying dearly. Zuckerbeg and his minions track your every move and click. They've assembled a detailed profile on each of us and that information is gold to marketers. One of the new changes is that FB has made it easier for third parties to latch onto you, and trust me, FB pockets coin with every exchange. So you have every right to complain, since you are the fodder that put the Billionaire in front of Zuckerberg's name.
I posted this on Tweet yesterday but I think it's worth repeating:
The mysterious case of Edinburgh's beautiful paper sculptures, which have been placed by an anonymous artist in various locations as gifts "in support of libraries, books, words, ideas," began last March, when the staff at the Scottish Poetry Library discovered a "poetree" left on a table, Central Station wrote.
In June, the National Library of Scotland "found themselves the recipient of a similar piece," and since then new works have made their stealthy appearance at the Filmhouse and the Scottish Storytelling Centre. In late August, two more were found during the Edinburgh International Book Festival, followed by yet another in the Central Lending Library on George IV Bridge.
Check out the other remarkable and beautiful sculptures by clicking on the link.
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A couple of trailers I found interesting-- the first for David Fincher’s version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" based on the novel by Stieg Larsson.
Followed by the Muppets version for their own movie The Pig With The Froggy Tattoo
Love it!! Now I'm not usually too keen on remakes, but the American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo stars Daniel Craig. Do I have to say more?
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It's Wednesday afternoon and I've been home about twenty-four hours. The trip to SoCal was wonderful. I hope all who came and took pictures will send me copies. The new Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach store is something! A separate events area, a space for a cafe in front, the usual spectacular display of books. Thank you for inviting me to sign. Both events went well and I always feel so at home. Here are a few pictures.
If you look closely, you can see Elizabeth holding the story Elizabeth and Anna's Big Adventure from the anthology A Girl's Guide to Guns and Monsters from DAW. This is Elizabeth!!! And her mom, steampunk author Suzanne Lazear.
The beautiful interior and the industrious, always serious staff
Patrick "The Great" Heffernan entertains my sister, Connie after the festivities
And one picture taken at the San Diego store the next day:
I love the Mysterious Galaxy and now that they have two locations, there's twice as much to love!
A couple of pics I especially like-- Here's Sarah Brackett and Gina Silva at our first meeting about three years ago at the Mystery & Imagination Bookstore in Glendale...
And here we are last weekend at MG:
When we first met, Sarah was pregnant. Here's the cute as a bug result:
Thanks, Sarah and Gina, for sharing these pics.
Something else special happened to me on this signing trip. I received some very special gifts from some very special people.
A hand-knit scarf and cap from LaRay and Nikki Gillison, a bottle of Vampire wine from Kathy Self, the Writer's Click from Linda Rohrbough, and a tee shirt from an anonymous reader. Thank you's are on the way!
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Anybody watch Ringer on Monday? I liked it. Sarah Michelle Gellar is still cute as a Buffy, but It's just convoluted enough to appeal to me. What did you think?
I was at my local watering hole when the conversation among my fellow barflies turned to movies we hated. Not surprisingly, people disagreed on the choices and the same movies could be either praised or ridiculed with equal gusto. (<-- painting by Jennifer Mosquera)
Two popular movies goad me to fits. The first is American Beauty, which for some bizarre reason, won five Oscars, including Best Picture. This movie is one of the reasons I've come to dislike Kevin Spacey, as I'd already panned him for The Usual Suspects and Seven ( two other movies I hated (see super-criminal remark below) but not to the degree of AM). Why did I dislike this movie? Let me count the ways:
When Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) learns he's about to get the ax, he behaves as though he's the only white-collar drone that's ever been booted out the door. But at least he blackmails his boss into a better than average severance package. (A weakly played plot twist.) Then Lester goes to work at a fast-food place to assuage his cynicism. All the while he's lusting after the under-age ingenue Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari--who did little for me.) So while my alarms are screaming Red Alert-Don't Be An Asshole, Lester does the obvious and bangs her. Then there is the retired Marine Colonel Frank Fitts (Chris Cooper), a lugubrious creepy homophobe. And his wife (Allison Janney) is unbelievably unrealistic as a military spouse because no woman could make it through a career in the service being such a thoroughly spineless dishrag. Of course, their son (Wes Bentley) is as wise and clever as his parents are dull. The openly gay neighbors are picture perfect, which is meant to contrast with Col Fitts' latent homosexuality. The upright ex-Marine makes a pass at Lester, gets rejected, and goes on a murderous spree. The movie had many opportunities to turn convention on its head but everyone in this dreck plods along in dopey, predictable steps.
Doggie on hydrant target No. 2. No Country For Old Men. Another Best Picture Academy Award winner, which might explain why I also dislike this movie. Alas, it's from the Cohen brothers, whose The Big Lebowski and Raising Arizona remain among my favorite live-action Loonely Tunes.
What didn't I like about NCFOM? To begin with, Javier Bardem plays the uber criminal Anton Chigurh (unlike Spacey, I do admire Bardem as an actor). Chigurh is practically super-human in his ability to outwit everybody, which I didn't buy. When criminals don't get caught--it's not because they're so smart--it's because of the randomness of their crimes. And worse, in this movie, bossy pants Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) dismisses all other law enforcement efforts in his chase after Chirgurh, and when he corners the assassin, Bell shits his drawers and lets the murderer escape. Sheriff Bell later gives an eloquent speech that serves as a parable about why he turned yellow (to save his Texas hide). The movie ends with Chigurh wiping the blood of his last victim from his boots and disappearing. At that, I went HUH? People argue that not every crime is solved. True. But that is not the end of the story, especially with murder. If the Cohen brothers were okay with Bell wussing out, then they should've gone to Fargo and enlisted Sheriff Marge Gunderson (Frances McDomand), who though a woman and pregnant, didn't hesitate hounding those murderous perps to justice.
Another Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold conference has come and gone. Like the rest of the US, we looked back at where we were ten years ago during 9/11. Our invited agents and editors were stuck in place as a result of the nation-wide lock down of the airlines. We had discussed canceling the conference but decided that the show must go on. It was understandably a subdued event, but those of us who managed to make the conference bonded for much needed camaraderie and laughs.
Fast-forward ten years~this conference was one of the best ever, a fabulous weekend crammed with workshops and festivities. Congratulations to the contest finalists and winners.
Besides reacquainting with old writing pals and making new friends, there were the wonderful panels as well as the copious consumption of alcohol. (Surprise!)
Two celebrations were the awarding of the much anticipated WOTY pins to our Writers Of The Year. And huzzah to Robin Owens for her second WOTY!
During the awards banquet, I was reading the program and wondering when and if I would ever be worthy of a Jasmine Award. Bestselling author Jasmine Creswell is one the the founders of RMFW and graciously set up the award to honor a member for Exemplary Leadership and Service to RMFW. So I was stunned to learn I was this year's recipient. May I remain worthy. There was much to learn at the conference, and much to relearn: like people at breakfast are a lot more interesting when you're drinking mimosas.
I will be late posting today. I have some DragonCon pics I'm gathering to share. See you this afternoon...or thereabouts. Still suffering the D*Con hangover but it's getting better...It's called sensory overload.
Okay-- first, a few costume pictures for your enjoyment. This is such a small sampling. Most of the time I didn't have my camera handy to snap pics and I don't know how to take pics with my phone (I know, I know...) so I missed a lot. But here are some that caught my eye when I had my camera.
I asked this young man how he made such a realistic looking woumd and was told it was done with tissue!!
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Had some really great panels. The Vampire panel with Laurell K. Hamilton, me, JF Lewis, Charlaine Harris and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro was standing room only. I swear I was in fan girl heaven!
I also had panels with other old and (new) favorites.
From L to R: JF Lewia, James Ray Tuck Jr., Carol Malcolm, Faith Turner, David B. Coe and me.
Me, James Ray Tuck Jr., Carol Malcolm, Carole Nelson Douglas, JF Lewis.
Me, James Ray Tuck Jr., Carol Malcolm
I can't wait to read James' book--he was funny, articulate and I loved his family!!
One of Bitten By Books reviewers, Rocky Shields. He and Carol Malcolm (who is the best moderator ever) and Derek Tatum who handles the Dark Fantasy programing are the reasons D*Con is my favorite con.
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Now, here's the other reason I love this Con so much. Got to spend time with my buddy, Charlaine Harris and her bff, Paula. Here they are dressed in their Victorian finery for one of the True Blood panels.
Speaking of which:
Charlaine with "Hoyt" and the King of LA
And last but not least, Charlaine and the inimitable Derek Tatum
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Next up--RMFW CoGold Con here in Denver. Followed by a signing at WhoElse Books at the Broadway Book Mall on Monday. Then on to San Diego-- La Mesa Library on Thursday, Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach on Saturday and Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego on Sunday. Details are all on the website. Hope to see you soon!
Jeanne's still at DragonCon and her name has yet to come up on any police blotter reports, which means she might be behaving herself.
Last week at Bubonicon, one of the big draws was Connie Willis, bestselling novelist and winner of a starship load of awards--the Hugo(s), Nebula(s), Locus(es), Arthur C. Clarke(s), World Fantasy(ies), John Campbell, and one from the British Science Fiction Association. I sat in on her presentation, Irony in Action. She defined irony as the Law of Unintended Consequences put into effect and offered this wonderful example:
"Irony is when you buy a suit with two pairs of pants and burn a hole in the coat."
Willis discussed her favorite ironic metaphor, the luxury ship Titanic, and the tragic "what-ifs" that led to so much loss of life: Had the Titanic taken no evasive action and hit the iceberg straight on, the ship wouldn't have sank so quickly.
Or had the telegraph operator suspended routine message traffic, he would've received the iceberg warning. And had the telegraph operator on the California stayed on duty another five minutes, he would've heard the Titanic's distress message.
Willis said that irony was her favorite literary device as it shows that history often hangs in the balance of trivial details (as when the duty officer at Pearl Harbor dismissed the radar report of a large inbound formation of airplanes) and that despite their best intentions, people make counterproductive choices (Oedipus). Willis explained why she didn't like grocery books (those bestsellers near the check-out stands) because of their hit-you-on-the-head earnestness and lack of irony. Everyone's favorite bestselling punching bag, Stephenie Meyer, was mentioned...several times. Willis said the Bible and the great works of literature were framed in irony. Among her favorite masters of irony, Shakespeare and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
So I looked back at my favorite books and movies and behold: irony in action all over the place. Even Disney reveled in it and one of the studio's best-known tearjerkers drops irony like the blade of a guillotine.
I'm talking about Old Yeller.
It's post-Civil War Texas. Young Travis (played by Tommy Kirk) reluctantly adopts a stray yellow mongrel dog. Though Old Yeller does typically dog-dumb things, it does show its worth by repeating fending off varmints and dangerous critters. Then Old Yeller protects the family by tangling with a marauding wolf and so contracts rabies. Travis watches his beloved companion go mad and vicious and can either let Old Yeller die a tormented death...or he can put the dog out of its misery. So in doing the right thing, Travis has to shoot his best friend. *sniff* Hand me a tissue.