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, June 27, 2012
  Colorado is on fire...
Unbelievable wildfires and weather are turning Colorado into hell--literally. We here on the flatlands, meaning the Denver Metro Area, are safe. But the foothills around Colorado Springs (including the area near the Air Force Academy), High Park, Flagstaff, and Eldo Springs are all in danger. It's a catastrophe of epic proportions. High winds and temperatures are adding to the problems. It's been a crazy start to the summer.

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From Buzzfeed-- something that tickled me.

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Never got to see this group...now I guess I won't:

The Rock Bottom Remainders, a contingent that has made it clear with every performance that literary giants like Amy Tan, Stephen King and Scott Turow really did make the right decision when they set aside their musical ambitions to write books, is calling it a career after two Southern California shows later this month. Among (those playing with them at one time or another were Bruce) Springsteen, Warren Zevon, Judy Collins, Ronnie Spector, Al Kooper and the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn.

It was Springsteen, Barry recalled, who after playing with the group told them they weren’t that bad, then offered this advice: "Don’t get any better or you’ll be just another lousy garage band."

Full story here

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Terrifying French children's books - in pictures

From The Guardian: When Jenny Colgan moved to France, she was so alarmed by the children's books that she decided to blog the scariest.

"I don't know why so many French children's books are so bafflingly, needlessly frightening. Before moving there, we lived in the Netherlands; they had the same rabbits with ethnically varied chums and dinosaur mummies tucking up dinosaur babies as we do in the UK. I also can't envisage the publishing meeting in which someone says 'Hey! I've got this great kids' book where a girl puts her head in a plastic bag!' ('La Tête dans le Sac') and everyone thinks what a fine idea, but - tant pis. Here are a few examples (more on my blog), all courtesy of the Médiathèque d'Antibes, which is shut on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, Thursday and Friday mornings, and 12-2pm Wednesday and Saturday, but when open has the most helpful (and rested) librarians to be found anywhere."


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So I think that's it for me this week. Got to get back to finishing the last of the Anna Strong stories. This one will be quite different from Haunted--the new one out in August.  Much more introspective as Anna faces a very human, very painful situation--the death of a parent.  But there's a love story involved, too, and I have to admit, it's been satisfying to write.  In fact, Anna keeps surprising me. Under that hard-boiled, kick-ass exterior may beat the heart of a romantic!


Sunday, June 24, 2012
  Hellfire and Rattle-n-Roll
Mario here:

If you're of those who hasn't yet seen Prometheus, count yourself lucky. I could go on and on about why it was such a mess, but go google the reviews and take your pick.

It's ironic and unfair that the critics heaped so much scorn on John Carter when its plot made a lot more sense than Prometheus'.

Closer to home, I've been reading nonfiction books as research for a freelance project. One recommended book was Hellfire by Nick Tosches, the story of The Killer, Jerry Lee Lewis. It's a very American Southern tale, what with Lewis marrying his cousin and other girls in their mid-teens, moonshine, pills, loose women, speaking in tongues, guns, his run-ins with the law, his son drowning in the family swimming pool, setting his piano on fire, more loose women, Elvis, and most fascinating of all, playing Iago in a rockabilly presentation of Othello, to critical acclaim and much success.

That video is interesting but you don't get a sense of Lewis' wild charisma. Try this for some hard rockin' 60s headbanging:

We've got reason to cheer one of our own. The Broadway Book Mall hosted Beth Groundwater's signing for her latest novel, Wicked Eddies, which earned a Critic's Pick from Kirkus Book Reviews. Beth called foul when asked if she enjoyed a good paddling.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012
  Hot Days, Cool Theaters
Because I have been in Big Bear plotting Book 2 of the new series, I have been out of touch with what's going on in the media world. But I did see Prometheus last weekend (the first trailer presented herein) and there are a lot of kick-ass movies coming out soon. Here's a trailer sampling:



Get More: Emile Hirsch, Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro, Aaron Johnson, Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, John Travolta, Movie Trailers, Movies Blog



Rock of Ages




The Dark Knight Rises


 As usual, summer is the season of the thriller. I can hardly wait. Since we're officially in summer, what are your plans (movie or otherwise) for the upcoming months?
Sunday, June 17, 2012
  Geek nirvana
Mario here:

Denver's first ComicCon is now one for the history books. Attendance was predicted at 10K and over 20K showed up. A huge success by any standards. There were celebrities, artists, fabulous exhibitors, great panelists, and of course, a starship's worth of amazing fans in interesting costumes.

I have to thank my fellow writers for classing up the proceedings. Here we are at the Paranormal panel. From left: Tamela Buhrke, Jeanne Stein, Betsy Dornbusch, David Boop, and Lynda Hilburn.

Not pictured but definitely present: Jason Heller, Stephen Graham Jones, Carrie Vaughn, Molly Tanzer, and Peter Wacks. During our panels, we agreed on some things, disagreed on others, but were in consensus that everyone needs to stock Ak47s and ammo for the impending Apocalypse.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
  What a way to start the day...
Well, I just lost my complete blog. Vanished into the either. I've been saving, too, so I don't know WTF happened. I just hope this isn't indicative of what the rest of my day is going to be like.

Anyway, the original title for this post was going to be An Exciting Week in the Life of a Writer. But I realized that sounded like I was being critical and getting and staying published are two of the best things that have ever happened to me.

But there are weeks, like the ten days ahead of me, when I have to do less writing and more of the promo stuff. I'm not good at it. My stomach gets tied up in knots.

Here's what I have in store:

Denver ComicCon

Denver is hosting its first ever Comic Con June 15 - 17 at the Convention Center downtown. They've lined up a pretty impressive list of guests including my favorite, James Marsters. I have a small part to play, too. Here is my schedule:

Local Author Spotlight  Hyatt  Room 3
New Horror and Urban Fantasy Lit   C104 
Strong Woman Writers and Characters in SF and Urban Fantasy -  Capitol 2
SAT 4 PM   Hyatt Room 2

Paranormal Outer Limits 

Since I haven't seen a program yet with panel descriptions, I can only guess from the titles what we'll be talking about. Friday night I think I'll be reading from Haunted, the next AS book out on August 28.

                                                          San Diego - Mon - Thurs 

Then it's off to San Diego for four days to meet with my collaborator, Samantha Sommersby, on our new series. We plan to polish off the first book (which I assume will be out sometime early next year) and plot out the second. It will be four days of work. Maybe a little play. But mostly work.

Rom Con

When I get back, it's time for another Denver Con, Rom Con. Here's my schedule for that one:

Paranormal Slayers at 2:40 on Friday

Speed Date at 11:20 on Saturday

Paranormal Chat 1:30 on Saturday

Intimate Chat at 2:40 on Saturday 

Book signing Saturday night at 8:00 p.m.

Full and busy weekend.

In  between all this, I'm finishing off the ninth Anna Strong book, judging entries for the Colorado Gold Writing Conference and planning the book signing schedule for Haunted.

I have the first lined up, btw....mark your calendars...August 28, TC Highlands Ranch. First day you can get the book in your hot little hands.

I do want to return to the normal blog things I use to talk about, though. Hopefully, by the middle of July I can concentrate more on media stuff and less on what's going on with me.  Which I realize isn't nearly as interesting as a sexy picture of James Marsters.

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Sunday, June 10, 2012
  What do they know?
Mario here:

Over at the League of Reluctant Adults, we had a lively discussion when Kevin Hearne wondered what to do about an especially snippy email from a reader, one that Kevin shared with us on the loop. Kevin's first reaction was to pen an especially nasty reply worthy of the sender's asshattediness. But we talked the gun out of Kevin's hand and calmed him down. Of course, when we send such a message, we expect the recipient to roll over and whimper, "Thank you so much for pointing out what worthless human being I am. Allow me to eat worms and grovel at your feet." But that doesn't happen. If nothing else, we'll get the bile spewed back by some waste of skin who has less to lose than any of us, so our response tends to be to ignore the fool.

So how do you respond to crappy "fan mail" and lousy reviews? We in League shift through the bilge of our one-star reviews on Amazon. We critique our favorites on the League loop and wonder (not too hard) about the personal issues afflicting said reviewer. We speculate about their demented fetishes, usually involving farm animals, funnels, and the ingestion of various bodily fluids and excretions.

Since one factor that leads readers to your books are reviews, we have an interest in gathering as many positive reviews as possible. Elle Lothlorien regards her one-star reviewers as unsatisfied customers and engages them directly and in many cases the reviewer substitutes their poor review for a better one. (Which gets back to the League's position that a one-star review is less about the perceived quality of the book than it is the reviewer needing therapy.)

In the long run, how effective are reviews? The critics initially crapped all over F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and we see how that book got pushed into the literary Dumpster.

The top book right now on my TBR pile is Hammer of the Gods, The Led Zeppelin Saga by Stephen Davis. In their review of LZ's first American tour, Rolling Stone wrote: "...they will have to find a producer, editor and some material worthy of their collective talents." We see how history gave that critic a well-deserved noogie.

You'll get no noogies at the ongoing Lighthouse LitFest. I'll be reading at their first ever book fair, Friday, 1:45PM, at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, 1515 Race St, Denver.

But if you get a noogie at Denver ComicCon 2012, it'll be done with a pencil or a space blaster.
Check me out next weekend at the Colorado Convention Center, downtown Denver.

 Saturday June 16, 4pm  “Paranormal” with Tamela Buhrke, Jeanne Stein, Lynda Hilburn.  (Hyatt Capitol Room 2)

Saturday 6pm “The State of Horror in this Pre-Apocalyptic Age"  with Carrie Vaughn, Molly Tanzer, Lynda Hillburn, and David Boop. (Room 104 )

Sunday 10-11am “Great SF/fantasy/horror books” (Room 104)

Extra! Extra!

My first novel, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats is on sale at Amazon for $2.99.

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Thursday, June 07, 2012
  Denver, Never Boring
By now most of you have either heard about or lived through last night's storm. I woke up about midnight to a strobe light pulsing in my window. I thought it was an emergency vehicle somewhere nearby. It was lightening. Then the rain and hail hit...and hit and hit. This is what my yard looked like this morning, hours after the storm.

I don't think I lost any plants but they got pretty beat up.

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Before the maelstrom hit, though, Warren Hammond had a very successful signing at Tattered Cover for his new KOP book, KOP KILLER. Here are a few pics:

Warren and his wife Kathy at dinner before the signing...see the glazed look in Warren's eyes? It's terror.

Here he is at the podium with the lizard presented him by his critique group...if you've read the books (and shame on you if you haven't) you'll grasp the significance.

The line up for the signing....

Warren doing his thing...  Congratulations Warren!!

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And of course the big news in the writing world this week is the death of Ray Bradbury.

He is lauded by gamers, movie goers and fans and rightly so...Here's why I personally love the man.

"I have fun with ideas; I play with them. I'm not a serious person, and I don't like serious people. I don't see myself as a philosopher. That's awfully boring...My goal is to entertain myself and others."


PS I hope the pictures don't end up repeating themselves like  last week. I have no clue why that happened.

Sunday, June 03, 2012
  The End of All Things
Mario here:

Actually, it's not the end of all things, just big uncomfortable changes for more institutions getting the Internet whammy. Some months ago I had posted that the Internet had really hit the sales of two businesses: map companies and porn.

Map Quest delivered the first body blow to Rand McNally, but it was Goggle Maps (who ironically enough, has almost driven Map Quest out of business) and iPhone apps that killed off the traditional map companies. Thompson Maps, those big city map books we used to lug around, has also been kicked into obsolescence by GPA devices and smart phone map apps. Similarly, why rent or buy porn when--as I've been told--you can get it for free via the Internet?

The next thing that's on the endangered list are those editor's proof marks we writers love so dearly.

What's happened is that most editing done today is on e-copies using track changes. Back in the Golden Age of writing, you used to send a paper copy of your manuscript to your editor, she would mark up your pages using the proof marks (once you understood them, it was like being in the special writers' club and you looked forward to fighting back with STET). Now with e-copies, you'd have to manually insert the proof marks as symbols, and it's just as easy to note the correction with a comment. Considering how fast a new crop of writers advances up the system, I suppose in three years remembering proof marks will identify you as one of the those dinosaurs who used dial-up modems and white-out.
                                                                                          Image from Getting Published blog.

It's time we pay our respects to the passing of the hardbound dictionary and thesaurus. I still have my copies and they wear their scotch tape repairs and dogeared edges like proud scars. But when you need help with a word, it's so much easier to goggle word definition or word synonym.

The next institution that's taking an Internet beatdown is the newspaper business. No surprise of course. Most cities have only one daily and some--such as New Orleans--not even that. Our chapter of the Mystery Writers of America meets in the Denver Press Club, a creaky vintage hangout, great place to soak up local history and booze. Like many American cities, Denver was home to several dailies and weeklies. But what's walking the plank are not just newspapers but newspaper reporters.

The press club displays caricatures of local news personalities and these cartoons reveal that it was once possible to have a career as a reporter. This meant newspaper readers had men and women with an institutional memory of the city and its politics and the means to say, "Here we go again," whenever politicians came up with a "new" harebrained scheme that didn't work the first time. And they had the means to peek under the rug of business and government obfuscation to show us who was doing what and why. We're expected to think that social media will fill the void, and the Internet has many things but sadly, no editors or ombudsmen. A friend's wife was a reporter and columnist at The Denver Post, and she states that time on the news beat has been replaced by driving traffic to Twitter and FB.

But there is much that is still thriving.

This week, you have THREE big chances to wear your literary duds.

Wednesday, June 6, critique pal, Warren the shank Hammond, signs and reads from his newest book, Kop Killer, 7:30PM at the Tattered Cover on Colfax. Kaye Lynne Booth shares her review in the Colorado Examiner.

In case you haven't heard, the next two weeks in Denver are all about LitFest at the Lighthouse Writers Workshops.

Tuesday, June 5, I'll be moderating and channeling snark at the LitFest Salon, Writing With a Gun to My Head, featuring Julie Kazimer and Jason Heller. Drinks are poured at 7:30PM, with the interview starting at 8PM. There is a charge of $30 for nonmembers, but if you belong to RMFW, MWA, or DASFA, you can get in at the member rate of $20. The price includes beverages and food.

Thursday, June 7, Salon: Literary vs. Genre Death Match, featuring Nick Arvin, Nic Brown, Robert Greer, and the great Connie Willis. The party starts at 7:30PM, Salon at 8PM, same pricing deal as above.

And...I've still got openings for a couple of classes during LitFest:
Scene and Sequel: The Building Blocks of Story
What was the Question? Keeping your story on track.

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