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, April 27, 2011
Videos, Books and a Witch Hunt...oh my!
Hi all-- I'm starting off with a video sent to me by pal Lizzie T. Leaf because I happen to be in the editing stage of my novel now and I know just what this feels like!
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A lot of different things caught my attention this week.
Penguin (but not really, read on) is launching something new.
Penguin has launched a beta version of Book Country, "an active community of writers, readers and experts" in the field of genre fiction. The New York Times reported that in its initial phase, the website "will allow writers to post their own work--whether it’s an opening chapter or a full manuscript--and receive critiques from other users.... Later this summer the site will generate revenue by allowing users to self-publish their books for a fee by ordering printed copies. (The books will bear the stamp of Book Country, not Penguin, and the site is considered a separate operation from Penguin.)."
Rest easy, annoyingly hirsute hipster Luddites loitering at local cafes: The typewriter is alive and well. How do I know? Well, because I looked on Staples' website. But don't take my word for it. Let's check in with a typewriter manufacturing expert:
The typewriter is "far from dead," [says] Ed Michael, General Manager of Sales at Moonachie, NJ-based Swintec.
"We have manufacturers making typewriters for us in China, Japan, Indonesia," Michael says. "We have contracts with correctional facilities in 43 states to supply clear typewriters for inmates so they can't hide contraband inside them," Michael explained.
Clear typewriters for inmates? That's a good use for technology.
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This next is timely because I happen to be watching Doctor Who right now courtesy of Netflix. (Yes, Mario, I can multi-task)
Neil Gaiman explains why his Doctor Who episode is a "game-changer"
Doctor Who season six starts this week, and there are so many reasons to be excited, including Mark Sheppard and more River Song. But there's also the fact that award-winning fantasy author Neil Gaiman has written one episode. ..
Gaiman's episode, titled "The Doctor's Wife," will air during the fourth week of this season, and is set in a spaceship graveyard.
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Thinking of a June steampunk wedding? Check this site out :
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As you might remember, I am (was) a huge Robert B. Parker fan. I will withhold comment on this until I see the first book.
(Newser) – The two most famous creations of late crime novelist Robert B. Parker will live on. His estate will allow two writers to continue the Spenser and Jesse Stone novels, reports Publishers Weekly . Michael Brandman will take over the Spenser series, which debuted in 1974 and now number 39. Ace Atkins gets the Jesse Stone novels (1997, nine tomes). Meanwhile, the last novel Parker completed before his death last year, Sixhill, will be released next month, notes the AP.
Can I volunteer to write the Sunny Randall series?
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Since I'm feeling a bit nostalgic now, let's end with this:
What caught your eye this week?
PS - Okay, this came up and I had to include it. Can you believe this?
So why was the nosy mother investigating the teacher anyway? And why tell her son? Teachers aren't supposed to have a private life? She should decide whether she wants to teach or write???? If it wasn't so absurd and insulting, it would be funny. I hope Judy Mays sells a million books.
Had to add this-- from one of my fellow bloggers at the League of Reluctant Adults, Sonya Bateman:
The news site, WNEP, has a separate page for comments on the article. It's absolutely flooded with people, including a lot of Judy's current and former students, taking this "news" outlet to task for a shoddy, inflammatory piece of reporting -- and speaking out in support of her, and against the idiots who complained in the first place.
(linkage for anyone who has a few hours to lose: http://discussions.wnep.com/20/wnep/wnep-sny-parents-buranich-english-teache r-writes-racy-novels-20110426/10?page=1)
I read through a bunch of them yesterday. This one's my favorite:
Teachers: Parents Do Naughty Things On Their Own Time
(Stupidville) Today, teachers discovered that parents have engaged in sexual activity, alcohol and tobacco use, watched R-rated movies (or worse), and in some cases actually own items used to enhance sexual pleasure.
"We are entrusting children to these parents who do these... things... when they are not watching the children. What are these children thinking when they realize their parents have made the beast with two backs?"
When asked for comment, the children had a unanimous response.
"Ewwww," said young Alice Cooper. "My parents had sex?" Several other children threw up nearby.
The teachers remained steadfast in their insistence that a parent's private life is not private.
I have a story in the YA anthology: You don't Have A Clue: Latino Mysteries for Teens, from Arte Publico Press, edited by Sarah Cortez. A *Starred Review* in Book List gives us bragging rights.
Years ago I swore I'd never write a story set in my hometown of Las Cruces, NM, or placed during the 70's. And I've done just that in "No Soy Loco," but with a little twist: mysterious voices, alien criminals, and eye gouging (otherwise, why go to LC?) A perfect tale for impressionable minds.
Manuel Ramos also has a story in the anthology. The book launch party will be Friday, 7PM, May 20, at the Tattered Cover on Colfax. As you can see, Ramos will bring a dose of much needed class to the event.
I'm signing 11AM, on both Saturday and Sunday. More details as we get closer to the date.
My TBR is in serious need of replenishing. If you have any titles to recommend, please post. Any genre, as long as it rocked you.
In the meantime, I can't sing praises loud enough for Sherman Alexie. I just finished War Dances and have started Ten Little Indians. The story, "The Search Engine," made my Muse* cry, it was that freakin' awesome.
* Hey Muse, you lazy bitch. Why can't you give me such inspiration? But no...it's always Happy Hour for you.
Lionsgate has added two more actors to the cast of The Hunger Games, based on the novel by Suzanne Collins and directed by Gary Ross. Deadline.com reported that Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right) will play Peeta Mellark, the baker's son, and Liam Hemsworth (The Last Song) is set to play Gale Hawthorn. They join a cast that already includes Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. The movie, which is expected to be part of a trilogy, is scheduled to be released March 23, 2012.
Any Hunger Games fans out there? What do you think of the casting?
Would You Sign My Kindle? By STEPHANIE ROSENBLOOM Published: April 13, 2011 Mr. Waters is in the vanguard. At the BookExpo America in New York in May, he and Robert Barrett, an information technology executive, plan to debut Autography. Here’s how an Autography eBook “signing” will work: a reader poses with the author for a photograph, which can be taken with an iPad camera or an external camera. The image immediately appears on the author’s iPad (if it’s shot with an external camera, it’s sent to the iPad via Bluetooth). Then the author uses a stylus to scrawl a digital message below the photo. When finished, the author taps a button on the iPad that sends the fan an e-mail with a link to the image, which can then be downloaded into the eBook.
Wish I'd thought of it.
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From the archives of the LA Library via boingboing :
I'm probably the only one old enough to remember when kids wore taps on the toe of their shoes...
Doctor Who star Elisabeth Sladen, who was also in spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures, has died aged 63.
Sladen appeared as Doctor Who assistant Sarah Jane Smith in the BBC television sci-fi series between 1973 and 1976, opposite Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker.
The Liverpool-born actress appeared in four series from 2007 of The Sarah Jane Adventures on children's channel CBBC.
Sladen had been battling cancer for some time and leaves actor husband Brian Miller and daughter Sadie.
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So, I think that's it from my little corner of the universe. Got the copy edits for Crossroads and sent them back. Now, I'm forging ahead with book eight. It's going to be a bit different, a lot darker. It's a tougher book to write than I thought it would be. Culebra figures prominently in this one and he's telling me his story as we go.
This year I noticed a dearth of pirate and Klingon costumes and an explosion of Steampunk. Three years ago at another con, several authors groaned about this thing called Steampunk and couldn't wait for it to die. No one was sure what to make of Steampunk other than it gave costumers a chance to wear goggles and tiny hats and sew brass gears to their clothes. Here we are in 2011 and Steampunk keeps getting more omnipresent with ever more fanciful gadgets:
As an opportunity for a fantasy S&M twist:
And yet another occasion for a femme fatale, in this case Aimee Matheny of the Colorado Chrononauts, to lure the too-willing man to the shoals of self destruction. *guilty*
Catch Aimee in this 9News clip. Steampunk has evolved into two sects, as it were: the English Victorian and the American Western, each embellished with tropes of the genre: corsets, electro-guns, robots, absinthe, and of course, airships:
While everyone seems to be in agreement about the aesthetics of Steampunk, the literature not so much. Most of the Steampunkers I talked with expressed disappointment in the state of steampunk prose--lots of gimmicks and bling but not enough substance. A few names topped our discussions as the exceptional writers in the genre: Cherie Priest, Scott Westergard, and China Mieville.
A pop culture blog called Between the Pages has a link up to an online copy of Roddenberry's initial outline for the series, dated March 11, 1964. The show itself premiered on Sept. 8, 1966, and in the intervening two years, a whole lot changed. For instance:
♦ Roddenberry's original captain was not James Kirk or Christopher Pike, but Robert April; ♦ The ship was first called the U.S.S. Yorktown; ♦ The navigator was not a young Russian hotshot named Pavel Chekov, but a young South American hotshot named Jose Ortegas; ♦ Spock was the "first lieutenant" and described as having a reddish complexion and, of course, pointed ears, and was probably "half Martian."
Roddenberry's 16-page outline also contains his now-famous description of the show as a sort of sci-fi Wagon Train, and does not mention anything like a transporter beam; the crew would land on planets via small recon vehicles. Early ideas for communicators, universal translators and phaser weapons can also be found within.
Most fascinating, however, are the story ideas that Roddenberry includes—many of which formed the basis for or at least planted the seed for classic episodes like "Charlie X," "Shore Leave," "A Piece of the Action," "The Return of the Archons," "The Savage Curtain," "Mirror, Mirror" and what eventually became the show's first pilot, "The Cage." Some of his dicier ideas—like a planet where slavery is the norm, except that whites are the slaves—never made it to the show at all (probably just as well).
So if you thought you knew everything about Star Trek, this document might hold some surprises for you. Either way, it's an essential read—after all, these 16 pages are where a legendary science fiction franchise began!
The estate of James Jones has made an agreement with Open Road Integrated Media to issue 10 titles by the author in e-book form, including an edition of the classic From Here to Eternity that restores "explicit mentions of gay sex and a number of four-letter words" that were deleted by his publisher, Scribner, when the book was originally published in 1951, according to the New York Times.James had fought the censorship, arguing to his editor that "the things we change in this book for proprietary's sake will in five years, or ten years, come in someone else's book anyway."
It only took fifty years.
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Okay, this goes out to my author friends who have children. How perfect is this? A book you can sleep in! From Flavorwire :
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2
Love this poster. It's sad and exciting all at the same time to think we've come to the end of the journey. Remember the Harry from The Sorcerer's Stone?
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One more bit of crazy before I get to some personal news. Here are 20 Insanely Creative Bookshelves from Buzzfeed
And you'll see right away why I like this one so much:
Do you recognize the little character? It's Mario...yes, a Mario shelf!!!!
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Now for some BSP--
First off, Sunday is the Englewood Library's Meet the Faces Behind the Books gig. Over 60 fiction, nonfiction, YA, Children's authors and illustrators will be in attendance. Including moi.
Here are the details:
Readers young and old are invited to the Library's 12th Annual Colorado Author Open House on Sunday, April 17, 2011. 1 - 3 pm. Books will be available for purchase.
1000 Englewood Parkway First Floor • Englewood Civic Center Englewood, CO 80110 303-762-2560
A reminder about Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers May event including a chance to get a critique by me on two pages of your own writing.
Saturday, May 21 8:00a to 4:00p at Renaissance Hotel, Denver, CO Price: $70 early registration; $85 after April; $95 at the door Phone: (970) 497-6452 Age Suitability: None Specified
Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is sponsoring a one-day workshop featuring Kirt Hickman, author of Revising Fiction: Making Sense of the Madness. The workshop will be held at the Renaissance Hotel on May 21st. Colorado authors Carol Berg, Jeanne Stein and Betsy Dornbusch will be on-hand to answer writing-related questions or critique the first two pages of your manuscript. For more information please see Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ website at rmfw.org or contact Vicki Law at (970) 497-6452.
On the book front-got an email from pal Toni Kelner who said in the next issue of RT Book Review Magazine Hexed was reviewed. Not only got 4 1/2 stars but was a top pick!!! Anthologies don't often get that nod so I'm thrilled.
My spy sent this photo of Jeanne sandwiched between Richelle Mead and Nicole Peeler at RT2011. Jeanne tries to look sober though you should notice the open bottle in front of her. Busted!
Here in Denver, Beth Groundwater dazzled the crowd at her Broadway Book Mall signing.
The evening progressed to an art show at Vain Salon, uptown home to the hippest hairstylists in the city. Jamie modeled make-up and hair while handling out Jello shots (there's always room for Jello!)
I love the details behind great stories. Director Elia Kazan and screenwriter Bud Schulberg became pariahs in Hollywood for testifying to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) where they admitted to having been Communists and giving up names. Kazan and Schulberg had joined the Communist Party because they saw communism as a force for progressive social change, a theme in their movies. The two became disillusioned when they recognized communism as a legitimate threat to the United States and that many of their writer friends in the Soviet Union had disappeared (i.e., murdered by Stalin). Kazan's earlier work such as Gentleman's Agreement (a 1947 movie exposing bigotry and anti-Semitism) were straightfoward stories about clear-cut moral choices. His experience before HUAC changed his outlook on life, and his story-telling turned noirish with deeply ambiguous moral dilemmas.
Kazan and Schulberg followed their Marlon Brando classic On The Waterfront (1954) with A Face In the Crowd (1957), an amazingly prescient satire of how media and marketing shape our politics. For many of us used to seeing Andy Griffith as the honest, folksy hero in The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock, you'll be astonished by his screen debut as Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes, the kinetic scheming bum who brays his way to fame and fortune. The man burns with the raunchy, incandescent energy of a punk rocker strung out on speed. Urban myth has us believe that 1950s America was all Harriet Nelson, but the infamous Vitajex commercial holds its own with anything you'll ever see on cable. Gratuitous camel-toe and pills that restore your manly ardor.
Compare the details with Mad Men. The two-faced executives. The decorative, over-coiffed women. The quaint hand-lettered show cards instead of PowerPoint. The skirt chasing that would make any modern HR staffer cringe at inevitable sexual-harassment lawsuits.
We see Lonesome Rhodes revel in his power, cynical and creepy as a mad scientist.
What is the background behind your favorite stories?
Given the non-stop deluge of attention she's received in the past several years, the obsessive fans, and the privacy-invading paparazzi, it was natural to assume that Kristen Stewart would be done with the vampire genre altogether once shooting on The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 had wrapped. But apparently Stewart's still up for more fun and hijinks with the undead if the script (or paycheck) is good enough. Because the mumbly twenty-one-year-old has just signed a three-picture contract to star as the title heroine in Fox's Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot movie series...
Looks like Anna Kendrick is up for the role of Buffy's best pal and right-hand witch Willow, Jackson Rathbone could essay everyman Xander, Ashley Greene may portray the vain Cordelia, Taylor Lautner will likely get hairy once more as teen wolf Oz, Michael Sheen is very close to signing on as Buffy's "Watcher" Giles, and Dakota Fanning's in the running to play Buffy's kid sister Dawn. Meanwhile several pundits have linked Robert Pattinson to the role of Angel. (We've reached out to the actor's publicist, but are still awaiting reply.) One thing that's certain is the film's writer-director team – none other than Stephenie Meyer (making her screenwriting debut) and Catherine Hardwicke, fresh off her instant masterpiece of adolescent angst Red Riding Hood.
Yikes! What a nightmare!!!
Now, this may be another joke, and I have a feeling I've heard about this before, but this was from CNews World Watch
The FBI has asked for help to decipher a note found in the pocket of Ricky McCormick, discovered slain in a St. Louis field 12 years ago.
Investigators have tried to decode the two-page note since the body of 41-year-old McCormick was found. But it's still not known what it says, and experts say it could help solve the case.
So, put on your thinking caps and give it a go.
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Terry Wright, who is a critique partner of Mario and me, has an offer for all you readers out there.
Get Hooked on Justin Graves for FREE New Line Press announced today for a limited time, the ebook, "The Gates of Hell" by bestselling horror and sci fi author Terry Wright, will be available during the month of April, 2011 for free. "The Gates of Hell" which reached bestseller status at OmniLit.com is book 1 in the popular Justin Graves Horror Series by prolific author Terry Wright. The short story ebook is available during the month of April for free at New Line Press and Smashwords.com .
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There are a couple of upcoming local events you may find interesting:
Good news! We have gathered together some wonderfully generous folks who are providing a limited number of RomCon® 2011 scholarships for active duty service men and women and their families, as well as veterans and their families--they are our American Heroes! If you know any American Heroes who deserve a scholarship, please have them write to us for more information!
And more good news! On April 14th, we will be giving away 2 Kindles to 2 people drawn from RomCon® 2011 general admission registrations completed by April 13th, 2011! If you're planning on attending RomCon but haven't registered yet, do so by April 13th so that you can be in the drawing!
Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers - Revising Fiction: Making Sense of the Madness, a one-day workshop
Saturday, May 21 8:00a to 4:00p at Renaissance Hotel, Denver, CO Price: $70 early registration; $85 after April; $95 at the door Phone: (970) 497-6452
Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is sponsoring a one-day workshop featuring Kirt Hickman, author of Revising Fiction: Making Sense of the Madness. The workshop will be held at the Renaissance Hotel on May 21st.
Colorado authors Carol Berg, Jeanne Stein and Betsy Dornbusch will be on-hand to answer writing-related questions or critique the first two pages of your manuscript. For more information please see Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ website at rmfw.org or contact Vicki Law at (970) 497-6452.
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So, I think that's it for now. I'm looking forward to RT--seeing friends, meeting new readers, eating food I shouldn't, getting room service...the good life!!! If by chance you'll be there, too, look me up!
There's no room in Heaven for me!
Mario here, Shout Out to Biting-Edge pal, Jeanne, for her terrific interview in RT's All Things Urban Fantasy, where Para is normal! She'll be at RT 2011 next week and promises to behave herself. Ha! If you see her in the hotel (stumbling, no doubt), snark her for me.
This last Saturday, Jeanne and I were panelists at the Pikes Peak Library District, 5th Annual Mountain of Authors. Say what you will about Colorado Springs, they sure know how to turn 'em out for a literary event. It was SRO throughout the day.
Another Shout Out, this time to our hosts from the Pikes Peak Library, Becca and Krista.
One of the treats at these events is the opportunity to meet some wonderful fellow authors, in this case, Teresa Funke. She presented on the Publishing panel and shared her rather circuitous route to publication. Funke's interests are those unknown stories of World War Two which she documented in: Remember Wake, Dancing in Combat Boots, and her Home-Front Heroes series. Two literary agents loved her work, and editors remarked that they loved her work...only they didn't think there was an audience for those stories. Since Funke was concerned that WW2 veterans are dying off, rather than wait until the publishing world comes around her way, she decided to self-publish so that the veterans and their families can see themselves properly acknowledged. Funke admitted the life of a writer can be an exercise in self-torture and despair, and she quits writing twice a year...then gets up the next morning and starts banging on the keyboard. And it's paid off as she's managed to carve a successful niche for herself as a writer and publisher.
The headliner was Jerry B. Jenkins, author of the wildly successful Left Behind series with over 70 million copies of his books in print. (Break me off a piece of thatKit Kat bar!) Not surprisingly, considering Left Behind is based on End Times prophesy from the New Testament's book of Revelations (and we were in the Springs), one woman couldn't help but approach our tables to proselytize the message to prepare ourselves for the Rapture. I noted that she skipped me. Guess I'm a lost cause.
I wonder if even the most devoted of Evangelicals believe that fervently in End Times prophecy. The next time someone preaches to me about the Rapture, I'm going to ask him or her about their IRA and 401 (k).
Hey guys, free show up her skirt. Hope she's going commando!
Jenkins was scheduled to speak for an hour, and I was concerned how anyone could gas on for sixty minutes without driving the audience to yawns and relentless clock watching. Well, I could've listened to Jenkins for another hour, he was so charming with his wit and self-effacing humor. He related a story of eating Big Macs with Steven King in a drive-thru. A professional writer all of his adult life, and most of it as a sports writer, Jenkins is a man enchanted with the beauty and power of the well-crafted word. He said good writing inspires him, but really good writing humbles him to the point that he thinks he has no business writing at all. I feel like that too often.