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, July 30, 2012
  Blog Alert!!
Okay, besides bemoaning the fact that Jordyn Wieber failed to qualify for the USA's Olympic gymnastics team, you have another reason to look on this as Black Monday. Mario is AWOL--well, not exactly AWOL. He spent the weekend doing something that required a lot of heavy lifting and an 'extra appendage'...his words. I'll let him tell you exactly what that was next week. In the meantime, we still have Missy Franklin to cheer on!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
  Op Ed
So much in the news the last few days. The shooting at the theater, which I want to talk about next, but also the death of Sally Ride. She was a hero to me—still is—but it was interesting to note that one significant detail was omitted from the obit published in the Denver Post: that she was survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy. 27 years!!! A relationship that lasted longer than a lot heterosexual marriages. And yet Tam was not even mentioned. I wonder how long it will be before we become tolerant creatures?

I picked this up on Facebook ( Sherryl Frauenglass’ page) and shared it on my page. It was picked up and shared again and again.

BTW, if you aren’t friends with Sherryl, consider friending her. She has the most beautiful images on her page.

 Now, to the big Colorado story.

 Historian Victor Davis Hanson wrote a thoughtful article in PJ Media that concluded with these words:

 I don’t care a whit whether the Aurora killer was a loner. I don’t care if he was unhappy or if he was on medication. Millions share such pathologies without killing a mouse. I don’t even know whether giving him swift justice will deter the next mass shooter. Yes, give the suspect expert legal counsel; call in all the psychiatrists imaginable; sequester the jury; ensure the judge is a pillar of jurisprudence; but if he is found guilty, I would prefer the gallows and quickly to remind us that we live in a civilization that prefers to remember the victims and to remember nothing of all of their killer.

Amen, Mr. Hanson. Unfortunately we know that will not be the case. We are looking at millions of taxpayer dollars and perhaps decades of jurisprudence before the suspect will face the consequences of his actions. In the meantime, his victims and their families are simply trying to get through one day at a time.

Tuesday, Christian Bale and his wife came quietly to Denver, asking that the media not be notified, so he could pay his respects to the victims and speak with the police and medical personnel. He did it on his own, not as a representative of or in behest of Warner Brothers.

Now that’s a class act.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
  Educate yourself

Mario here:

Major pimpage for this very awesome seminar from the:

 Have you written a novel? Are you writing a novel? Maybe thinking about it?
Get the inside scoop on writing a novel from published writers experienced
in both publishing their novels and teaching about writing novels.

The Mystery Writers of America presents MWA-University, August 11, 2012, at the Downtown Westin Hotel, in Denver, CO. This full-day, low-cost writing seminar is designed to teach participants the essential skills needed to write a novel. The seminar is not genre-specific and covers the novel-writing process from the idea phase to publication. The focus is on the craft of writing, and the college-level courses are taught by published writers who are also experienced teachers. The core curriculum includes:

The all-day workshop is open to the public and costs $50. Seating is limited, and
pre-registration is required. Registration deadline is August 3, 2012

The seminar will be held in the Downtown Westin Hotel, 1672 Lawrence St, Denver.

Visit  MWA-University for more information.

You can find more information (and instructor bios) at the RockyMountain MWA Chapter website.

And while we're pimping, check out these two very shout-out worthy ebooks. Both original manuscripts got passed on by the big publishing houses and lucky for us, have arisen, reborn, on Amazon. Buy them both. You have my permission.

From Mystery writer pal, Jess Lourey, The Toadhouse Trilogy.

Aine believes herself to be a regular teenager in 1930s Alabama, but when a blue-eyed monster named Biblos attacks, she discovers that the reclusive woman raising her isn't really her grandmother and that she's been living inside a book for the past five years. With her blind brother, Spenser, she flees the pages of the novel she's called home, one terrifying step ahead of Biblos' black magic. Her only chance at survival lies in beating him to the three objects that he desires more than life.

And from my Latina buddy in the Bay Area, Annette Sandoval, Spitfire (love the title).

Twenty-eight-year-old Tomi Reyes is a documentary filmmaker who moonlights as a receptionist to pay the bills. It’s a pretty easy gig—until she receives an unexpected promotion, and her somewhat interesting life goes totally insane. 

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Monday, July 16, 2012
  Number One Book
Mario here:

While Jeanne is galavanting at San Diego Comic Con and working herself into a lather over Joss Whedon, we here at Biting-Edge Corporate are holding down the fort.

Holding down that fort includes watching the new first episode of Breaking Bad for Season Five. It's no surprise to you that Biting-Edge welcomes hard-boiled noir, the darker the better and nothing on TV comes close to satisfying our jones for grisly, gritty, and bloody as Breaking Bad. Season Four seemed to have ended the big story questions, but no. A lot more intrigue and double-crosses remain.

Breaking Bad fits right in with the book at the current number one spot in my reading queue, Crimes in Southern Indiana by Frank Bill. It's a collection of short stories, interwoven into a brutal narrative of crazed vengeance and rural justice. Gander at this amazing cover, illustrative of the desperation and bleakness within the narratives.The writing is not just fresh, but extraordinarily punchy and evocative.


A tweaker gets busted during a night poaching deer.

The cruiser's door slammed. Boots trailed over the loose gravel. Wayne watched the headlights black out the features of the approaching officer in the driver's side mirror. His right hand gripped the wooden stock of his Marlin lever-action 30-30 in the seat beside him that he had used to kill deer several hours ago. The Need square-danced with the amphetamines in his bloodstream , driving the fever in his brain to a boil, and he opened the door.

An eye-for-an-eye revenge about to go very wrong.

Rusted ringer washers. Gas stoves. Dry rotted tires and busted television sets decorated the flat rock hollows. The country yards of rusted trailers and broken-down farmhouses with abandoned red clay tractors. Vehicles on cider blocks. It was the poor man's fairy tale of rural survival. Hines could smell the survival's waste like the sweat that his pores excreted as he sped down the valley road.

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Sunday, July 08, 2012
  The more I know, the less I know
Mario here,

Before I got published, I vowed to never to succumb to firstbook-titis. If you're not careful, what can happen is that the first time you get published you come under the delusion that you've got this writing thing figured out. After all, you've graduated from wanna-be writer to Published Author! You've now got cred.

The symptoms of firstbook-itis include:

I'm sure many of you have been burdened with putting up with the self-important pronouncements of a firstbook-itis sufferer.

Fortunately, I'm way past the firstbook-itis syndrome. The more I write and the more I'm exposed to the publishing biz the less convinced I know much with any certainty. I can read something and tell if it meets an acceptable level of competence. Beyond that, the best I can do is shrug. I've read plenty of manuscripts that didn't jazz me and they went on to garner the attention and money I'm craving. So what did I miss?

So when the firstbook-itis sufferer attempts to browbeat you with their inflated opinion, smile with the knowledge that sooner or later, they'll get a publishing smackdown that should purge their egos.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2012
  Happy 4th!!
Good news for once-- no new fires burning in Colorado!

Next Thursday I'll be in San Diego for ComicCon and a few days of R&R-- I'll be on a panel Saturday, the 14th at 10:30, Room 5AB if you're in the neighborhood. Signing after. And then some fun with friends and family. So, I'm taking a vacation day next week...I know it'll seem dull without me, but you do still have Mario...who will be a year older on Friday...but you didn't hear that from me.

And speaking of, I loved Mario's post on the 70's--that was a strange and wonderful time.

And speaking again of Mario, the Great Gatsby is one of his favorite books. I came across this while perusing some media sites this week. This is the one piece of footage left from the earliest adaptation of the film...a 1926 trailer.


And here is a Guardian article--the Great Gatsby in pictures.

# # # #
We celebrated our 4th early with a critique group party in our backyard. Here are some pics from the festivities:

The gang at ease
Tamra, Margie, Warren, Phil
Angie, Bobette, Terry
Margie, Warren, Phil, Mario
Tamra, Margie, Warren

Hope your holiday was safe and full of fun, too!

Sunday, July 01, 2012
  When we all circled the drain
Mario here:

Years ago I vowed that I would never write a story set during the 70's. For various reasons, I had to break that promise when I wrote a piece of short fiction for You Don't Have A Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens. Once done with that, I had hoped that I wouldn't have to return to the cultural wastelands of my formative years.

But here I am. What happened is that I'm working on a freelance project that spans the 60's to the early 2000's, and a significant amount of the action takes place during the 70's. I was in the ninth grade in 1970 and entered Army flight school in 1979. In between, I went through high school, college, lived in Tempe for a summer, spent a night in jail, joined the army, and got married.

There was a lot I forgot--on purpose--and thinking the 70's couldn't have been that bad, I bought a copy of 70s All American Ads to refresh my memory. In his forward, cultural scholar Steven Heller dismisses the 70's as a cultural sinkhole and goes on to explain why. Even me, fashion yokel that I was, could see that we were in a stylistic morass. To go through this book is like plunging fresh daggers in my eyes. And sadly, I committed many grooming atrocities and have pictures to prove it. Like this one.

And somewhere, there's a snapshot of me in the ubiquitous and horrific maroon tuxedo with a ruffled pink shirt with maroon piping, and brown platforms. At least, I had the sense to not buy a leisure suit or worse, the one-piece jump suit. The hair! The bad clothes! The awful earth tones (mustard, avocado, beige). Shag rugs. Even the cars were butt ugly. The entire decade looked like the set of a porn movie.

Compare the cover of that book to that of 20s All American Decades and we see why we hang our heads and weep. Even though the 20s predated my parents, I still feel nostalgia for that time. The elegance, the style, the striving for an ideal--while I feel nothing but loathing for the 70s.

But to say there was no progress would be a lie. In the 20's, African-Americans were seldom depicted as anything more than maids or porters. In contrast, check out this 70's cat in his 'fro, 'stache, aviator shades, and long shirt collars, and tell me he doesn't look like a bad mo-fo.

While the 70's didn't look good, the decade did produce some of Hollywood's most iconic movies. Clockwork Orange. Patton. Dirty Harry. The Wild Bunch. Star Wars. The Road Warrior. Rocky. Apocalypse Now. Alien. As well as Death Race 2000 and Vanishing Point.

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