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, January 30, 2013
  Pride, Prejudice and Book Store Closings
Image: Stock Montage/ Getty Images

From Parade.com: To celebrate the publication of Pride and Prejudice 200 years ago this week, Paula Byrne, author of the biography The Real Jane Austen, offers these facts about the novelist: 

 1. Her original draft of Pride and Prejudice was titled First Impressions and was rejected by a top publisher. 

2. She accepted a proposal from her best friend's brother, but changed her mind the next morning. 

3. Her deep dislike of the French was fueled by her cousin's husband's death by guillotine during the Revolution. 

 4. The publisher of Pride and Prejudice was Egerton’s Military Library, which specialized in military history—not romances. 

5. A character in Sanditon, one of Austen's two incomplete novels, is homeopathic health nut who wants to swim in the sea in a bathing machine with a mixed race girl. 
6. Austen's other unfinished novel is called The Watsons. The heroine's name was Emma Watson. 

You can download a free digital copy of Pride and Prejudice from iTunes or Amazon.

More interesting facts can be found on the Jane Austen Society of  North America website, including a bit that caught my attention. In World War I, soldiers read "Pride and Prejudice" for comfort and distraction. Rudyard Kipling later published "The Janeites," a short story about a group of soldiers who shared a passion for Jane Austen.

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From Shelf Awareness and the Wall Street Journal (Jan 28):

Over the next decade, Barnes & Noble will likely close a third of its 689 general retail stores, or about 20 a year, Mitchell Klipper, CEO of B&N's retail group, told the Wall Street Journal. Slimmed down to 450 to 500 stores, the retail stores represent "a good business model," he said, emphasizing that today only about 20 B&N trade stores--3% of the total--lose money...

I hate reading about any bookstore closing--but it's not just because of the obvious.  As an author, fewer stores mean fewer advance sales--already down because we lost Borders last year. It also means less shelf space and with their new policy, Barnes and Noble no longer carries the extended back list it used to.  I'd like to think as more and more big box stores close, readers would turn to their independents but many smaller stores cannot match the price points of the big box stores. And like it or not, price does matter. It's a problem that affects us all and it's only going to get worse.

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Let's end with something more pleasant than bookstores closing. I'm not impressed by most book trailers but this is a good one! Enjoy!

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Sunday, January 27, 2013
  The Front Burner plus some
Mario here:

What I'm reading: The Comedians by Graham Greene.

Like most writers, I've got a lot of irons in the fire. Unfortunately, most of the irons remain lukewarm. I have a couple of freelance projects that are stop-n-go. For those of you in the loop, you know there's a new Felix Gomez book in the works. The series is orphaned for now, more or less. HarperCollins still has the rights and all five of my previous titles remain in print...as ebooks. But they've passed on future books, so number 6, Rescue From Planet Pleasure, will come out as a self-pubbed ebook. When? Hopefully soon.

You'd think that with this Felix book already on the front burner, I'd be pouring over it, 24/7. But no. I've got a secret project that I dig into, an hour here, an hour there. It's a story not like any I've yet written--no tough guys, no violence, no bloodsuckers--but it does involve people getting in over their heads doing what they shouldn't. Working on this project is liberating and a lot of fun. Stay tuned.

Call for Submissions: From the Mothership. Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond. An anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror featuring characters of color. (Though I hate that term. Would little green men from Mars be persons of color?) But the site's pitch makes a good point.

When we look up at the night sky, space is black as far as the eye can see. Yet, when we read novels about it or watch something on TV or in the movie theater, it is white beyond all comprehension. With this collection, we hope to give space some much needed ... color, shall we say (and other genres, of course).

Submission guidelines here. Deadline, May 1, 2013.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013
  More Excuses...
I spent the last week in revisions for Anna 9 (Blood Bonds); writing a short story (One Good Deed) for Fiction River Anthology Magazine; and working on the second in my Fallen Siren series (no working title yet). It's been a long (but productive) week.

The upshot is I didn't have time to gather any pearls for this week's blog. I did see this, though, from the Examiner:

John Lennon letter from 1971 inspires new film starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Renner

Hollywood's a-buzzin' with news about a new film called "Imagine" which is set to star Al Pacino, Julianne Moore and Jeremy Renner. The movie, scheduled to start filming this Spring, was inspired by the true story of an aspiring folk musician who received a letter from John Lennon 34 years after it was written. 

The letter never reached the musician at the time because it was intercepted and wound up in the hands of a collector. It was thirty-four years before the intended recipient saw it.

Al Pacino plays the musician.

I realized when I released the blog early on Thursday that I didn't mention why I would be interested in this -- I have just about everything written by and about the Beatles. I wasn't aware of the book mentioned in the article, though, The John Lennon Letters. I am now.


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A writing contest some of you may be interested in:

Crested Butte Writers' annual Sandy Writing Contest

New Eligibility Rules. Put your work up against the rest! The Sandy now welcomes published authors. The entry MUST be original and uncontracted at the time of the contest deadline. 

No self-published works will be accepted. 

Also, this year we are capping the entries at 250, so enter early! 

We are doing away with snail mail entry forms this year. To enter, everyone must fill out the electronic entry form. We will still take checks mailed to the CBWriter PO Box for those who do not wish to pay via Pay Pal. 

We are increasing the prize money. 1st=$60, 2nd=$35, 3rd=$15 In the interest of uniformity, we’re using only Times New Roman font this year.

Not much prize money but final judging will be done by editors and agents. Rules and entry forms here

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While we're on the subject of writing, check out Cindi Myers Market News for info on which imprints are buying what. Check it out  here 

And did I say I was finished with revisions for Anna 9-- wishful thinking!

See you next week--

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Sunday, January 20, 2013
  I'm more than Justified

Mario here:

 What I'm reading this week: Velveteen by Daniel Marks.

I've been cycling through the noir, hard-boiled series on Netflix, and the newest in my queue is Justified. The title song by Gangstagrass captures the modern, jagged rural tone of the show: country hip-hop. Like my other favorites--Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy--it's locked-n-loaded with tough guys and their molls, but all three programs have distinctly different plot structures. Justified is more like your typical one-hour drama where the main story question is answered before the end credits. Sons of Anarchy is soap opera (though with gun fights, shivs, beat downs, and disfigurement with a gas welding torch) where the emphasis is on character development, and we see how their paths and motivations braid together. The main draw is the scheming between the characters since we're not sure where the story is heading. In Breaking Bad, we're freight trained by the plot in that we know there's going to be a showdown between Walter White and his brother-in-law, the DEA agent Hank Schrader.

John Scalzi opens his kimono to share his analysis of the sales for Redshirts in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook formats. Healthy numbers all the way around. Of course it helps that his audiobook was narrated by Wil Wheaton. Scalzi makes the argument his ebook sales were bolstered by science-fiction fans who are more tech-savvy and thus likely to have an e-reader.

Then we have this post from Marie Harte who discusses the nuts-and-bolts needed to earn a respectable living writing mostly ebooks. But unlike Scalzi, Harte writes erotica and romance for a readership not necessarily defined as tech-savvy. (According to Publishers Weekly, in 2010, science-fiction represented 19% of ebook sales, and general romance, 14%. Erotica wasn't listed separately.)

Every writer has their favorite coffee shop, and here in the Highlands, Common Grounds is home to many a scribe and their lap tops. For now. Although Common Grounds is practically synonymous with the 32nd and Lowell neighborhood (Portlandia, we laugh at you and your theatrical hipster-ness) and for years was the one place that offset much of the area's sketchiness, it's become a victim of the gentrification it helped usher. But fear not. Common Grounds is not disappearing, only putting down new roots in the Sunnyside neighborhood to the east.

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