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!
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Who's your bad ass daddy?
What I'm reading. The Coldest War, by Ian Tregillis.
Here's a commercial message to help keep us off the street corner.
I'm teaching at Writers Online Classes. Sign up for, How to Sharpen Your Writing. It's a tough market out there and let me shine a little bit of wisdom by sharing how to add some sparkle to your prose. Whether you choose to scatter that sparkle on vampires, that's your call. We don't judge. Now to our regularly schedule programming.
The East Coast is about to get pounded by the Frankenstorm, Hurricane Sandy, which in a weird way. gives us a bit of respite from all the campaign hollering.
So to continue giving you a break, let's talk about bad ass characters. What made me think this was this clip I stumbled across from Rocky III, featuring the villain, Clubber Lang. Over the years, Mr. T devolved into a parody, but if you watch this video, you'll see what a bad ass he could play.
Cable TV has also given us a great crop of bad asses, especially Breaking Bad.
Starting with, Walter White (Bryan Cranston).
The sketchy and scary, the chief goon Mike Ehrmantraut (Johnathan Banks).
The icy and manipulative king pin, Gustavo "Gus" Fring (Giancarlo Esposito).
And no doubt, the baddest ass cop since Dirty Harry, Hank Schrader (Dean Norris).
Fans of True Blood and Walking Dead have their faves, so chime in.
As I mentioned last week, I'm in San Diego for signings at Mysterious Galaxy this weekend, but thought this would be of interest to readers:
Barnes & Noble, which acknowledged yesterday that hackers had stolen data from pin pad devices in 63 of its stores in September, released a list of the stores along with advice for customers about what to do. See it all here (no pin required).
And just in case you've forgotten:
Mysterious Galaxy – San Diego
October 27 2PM
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. Suite 302
San Diego 92111
What I'm reading: The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins
Mile Hi Con 44 has come and gone. Many thanks to Rose Beetem for honchoing this big herd of weird cats. I spent the weekend catching up with my fellow writers and fans. Palled around with Stephen Graham Jones, Marne Ann Kirstatter, Julie Kazimer, Paolo Bacigalupi, David Boop, Betsy Dornbusch, Thea Hutcheson, Carrie Vaughn, Molly Tanzer, Quincy Allen, Carol Berg--and as they say--so many, many more.
The Hipster Reading went off surprising well, so much so that we're planning another, more hipster reading, for next year. Jason Heller and bongo-ist Aaron DeBoskey tore it up Friday night.
Author Guest of Honor Cherie Priest shows off her "Castle" Writer flak vest (sans armor plate).
Contest for the University of Doom!
Here's your chance to win this Lego Ghost Train set (for yourself or any of your little ones).
Or a University of Doom window sticker.
How? It's easy!My handsome son Emil will explain it to you at via You Tube.
J K Rowling interview with Jon stewart - she's pretty cool!
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Grist for the writing mill:
A new class of electronics can dissolve and disappear on a pre-set schedule,
within a few minutes or a few years, depending on when you want them to go away.
They could live in the body and deliver drugs, they could stick on the exterior
of buildings or tanks, and they can become compost instead of metal scrap--in
other words, they turn the common conception of electronics completely upside down.
Transient electronics, as they’ve been dubbed, are a combination of silk and
silicon designed to work seamlessly in our bodies and in our environments. In a
new study, researchers built a thermal device designed to monitor infection in a
rodent and a 64-pixel digital camera--all from dissolvable material.
Can you imagine? A building or a tank dissolving into compost???? Am I reading that right? How about a body? Wow-- more here
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I love this time of year. It's so beautiful in the neighborhood--the trees turning, the leaves falling like rain. Next week I'll be in San Diego to sign at the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstores. Dates and times as follows:
Mysterious Galaxy – San Diego
Halloween Bash! with S. G. Browne and Tamara Thorne
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. Suite 302 San Diego 92111
Mysterious Galaxy – Redondo Beach
October 282:30 PM
Halloween Bash! with Lisa Morton and Hugh Sterbakov
2810 Artesia Blvd. Redondo Beach 92078
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Next week while I'm in San Diego, I'm taking extra time to play with my sister, Connie, my cuz Ed, my oldest SisinCrime buddy, Miyoko, and to work on the new series with collaborator Samantha Sommersby. So if I'm AWOL next Thursday, you'll understand why. I'll keep up on Facebook--at least I'll try.
Fangs, hipsters, and a drop through the Stratosphere
It's one week to Mile Hi Con 44 and Biting-Edge will be there all weekend. Besides lots of fantastic panels, catch our Author Guest of Honor Cherie Priest and Toastmaster Stephen Graham Jones at the Friday night Hipster Reading...with Bongos. Get the details from this great flyer, courtesy of artist pal Eric Matelski.
Dog Fight! The 2012 Authors Invitational Photo Dog Fight organized by Casey Halloway. Monday, my family's Shiba Inu, Scout, goes muzzle-to-muzzle with the mutt from Em Petrova. Grrrr! Go to the DOG FIGHT and vote for your favorite pooch, which is Scout, of course.
I do some ghost-writing on the side and one book that I had a hand in was The Natanz Directive, (Thomas Dunne Books) by Fox News security analyst Wayne Simmons and local author Mark Graham (who hired me). The hero of this thriller, Jake Conlin, is called back to active duty and sent to Iran on a black ops assignment to stop nuclear Armageddon. The book is getting strong reviews and features Jake Conlin doing a very macho high-altitude parachute drop that would've done Felix Baumgartner proud.
I've been reading a lot of novels lately in a variety of genres as I try to pin down what makes a good read "good."
What complicates the process is what we determine as "good" is so subjective. Almost all of what I've read lately is not just good, but damn good. Humbling good. Among the titles:
Thread of Hope, by Jeff Shelby
The Financial Lives of the Poets, by Jess Walter
Citizen Vince, also by Jess Walter
Wool, by Hugh Howey
Consent to Kill, by Vince Flynn In Pharaoh's Army, by Tobias Wolf (a memoir)
Then just this weekend I finished (more or less) one book that screwed my mood. The novel was by an award-winning author--recipient of an NEA grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship--and featured lost love and a man scarred by war. With those credentials, I was expecting to be blown away. What could go wrong? Plenty, unfortunately. The narrative read like a first draft. The author was blurbed by the usual suspects and the book's Kirkus Starred review praised it for "extraordinary language." I must have missed something or read a different book by the same title. Jess Walter and Tobias Wolf ka-powed me with their mastery of prose. For a literary writer, the guy in question was a lazy hack.
In another blog exploring the magical sprouting of a breakout book, an agent was quoted as saying, "and then God smiled." In other words, "a miracle occurred." I don't want to slight another author for their success--bad karma and all that--and if someone hits the jackpot, good luck to them.
Still, I wish God wasn't so stingy with his smiles. I know of plenty of goodgreat outstanding writers who have not been given the attention they deserve. Meanwhile, other less talented scribes get heaped with praise and sales. We have the hoopla over Shades of Grey. What puzzles me is all the media carnival about the sexual content, as if no one else had ever written erotica before. Well, here's a nod and a wave of the stinky finger to my naughty and successful writer pals, Lorelei James, Lauren Dane, and Megan Hart.
And this week, on October 9 to be precise, is the release date for Daniel Marks' (né
Mark Henry) amazing YA novel, Velveteen. Don't believe me, read this review. Buy bunches of copies. The hardback looks gorgeous. Hate to say this of anything regarding Mark Henry (I mean, have you ever met the guy? It's like visiting the monkey cage at the zoo.), but I'm jealous.
A House For Sale and a Contest or Two
On my way to Fairplay to write, write, write this weekend. Thought I'd share some goodies I came across this week that may be of interest.
Have an extra 2.25 million pounds laying around? If so, you can buy the house where Harry Potter was written. Go here for more photos.
I just purchased The Casual Vacancy but it will be awhile I'm afraid before I get to it. Anyone read it yet? What did you think?
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An opportunity featured in Cindi Myers Market News
Harlequin’s Love Inspired Romantic Suspense line is
looking for authors. To find them, the editors are hosting a Fast Track
submission process during October. Submit your first chapter and
synopsis and get a read in one month. Send your first chapter, two-page
synopsis, and a query letter stating how much of the manuscript is
complete to LISfasttrack@harlequin.ca between October 15 and October 26.
You’ll have a reply by November 26. Love Inspired Suspense features
romantic suspense with a Christian faith element. Stories are equal
parts romance and compelling suspense, with a faith message woven in.
Completed books are 55,000 to 60,000 words. Find more details about the Fast Track Submissions here.
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What are publishers buying right now? This dovetails nicely with the above. From Publisher's Marketplace:
In September there was...A surge in fiction, driven by romance & women's fiction (which doubled). September fiction was up 25 percent from last year, the highest total ever for this month. Similarly, domestic fiction sales are up 23 percent for the year-to-date...
...As far as reported sizable advances, six-figure fiction deals have also
bounced back--driven by that surge in romance. Five of the major deals
werewomen's fiction (none were last year), in multi-books deals, as
were three of the significant deals. So far we have logged only two
six-figure debuts, which drives a lot of the talk and impressions. (This
time last year it was M.L. Stedman's now-NYT bestseller THE LIGHT
BETWEEN OCEANS and Rachel Joyce's THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY
leading the bid-for debuts).
And another contest which has a nice $5000 grand prize. This was posted on a RMFW loop by Mark Stevens:
America's Next Author is a huge writing contest with a $5000
grand prize, and is now accepting entries. But more importantly, it's built
around a very unique concept: all contest entries will be visible to the public
and the winner will be chosen by voters and our panel of judges.
Readers will be able to comment on stories, give feedback to
authors, and vote for their favorites. This gives authors a great opportunity
to get feedback on their work and build an online following. It's also much
more fun and exciting because in regular writing contests, only the winning
stories are shown and nobody else ever finds out why they didn't win.
The competition will have eight nomination rounds. Each week,
the top-ranked author will be nominated for the finals. And even if a story
isn't nominated, it will remain in the contest and have another chance to be
nominated each week. During this process, authors can increase their chances of
winning by getting everyone they know to vote for their story.
In addition to being read by the public, the contest entries
will be judged by a panel of experienced professionals from the publishing
industry. These judges will read entries and provide feedback to authors. They
will also nominate four additional wildcard authors, adding them into the final
rounds of competition.
After the debacle last week with the pictures I tried to post, I've given up the idea of posting anymore about the Writers Police Academy. But fellow writer Terry Odell who obviously has a better grip on the vagaries of blog posting has done a wonderful series here . So if you'd like to see and find out more, check it out. I'll try with just one more because I loved getting my pic taken with Lee Child.