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, February 27, 2013
  Geek Alert
Hi all-- because I'm in the middle of rewrites for two books and just finished a short story for an upcoming anthology, this is a desperate effort to post something to keep Mario off my ass. Although I must say his last post was more entertaining rant than anything else. I especially liked:

If you want to make it big in this business, you need to write a good book. One that resonates with readers. The word-of-mouth thing. Every writer's blog, tweet, and YouTube video is done in the hopes that it'll go viral. But as any honest agent or editor will tell you, success in publishing depends as much on "and then God smiled" as it does anything else.

How true. Sad. But true.

Anyway, I have been looking forward to this movie so decided to share the following tidbits from insidemovies.com :

Back in December, we gave you an exclusive first look at Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford as Ender Wiggin and Colonel Hyrum Graff in Summit’s upcoming sci-fi adaptation of Ender’s Game (due Nov. 1), based on the popular novel by Orson Scott Card. Today, a second official image has hit the net (via fansites like EnderWiggin.net), and it introduces us to Ender’s Battle School companion, Petra Arkanian, played by True Grit‘s Hailee Steinfeld.
In the still, Petra and Ender share a meal in the dining facility alongside their fellow Salamander Army (see those patches on their jumpsuits?) soldiers. That means this is still early on in Ender’s journey, as Salamander is the first army he is recruited to after his time as a Launchie. At the far left end of the table, you can see Bonzo Madrid (Moises Arias), the cruel commander of Salamander Army, who, in the novel, resents having the under-trained Ender fighting alongside him. Fortunately for Ender, Petra proves to be a true and loyal friend — not to mention an expert fighter.
The background of the photo also contains a few gems for super-fans. The scoreboard, which displays daily rankings of all Battle School recruits, looks to be broadcasting a battle between Rat Army and Asp Army, in what appears to be a spherical or circular Battle Room. Director Gavin Hood played coy about the look of the Battle Room when EW spoke with him in December. “I really hope that what we’ve done with [it] will be exciting to people,” he said.

I love the geek factor of this article. 

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Talking about geeks:

Okay, back to work. I think I'll have covers in the next couple of weeks. I saw a rough of Cursed, the first in the Fallen Siren Series and really liked it. I'm still waiting for Blood Bond, the new Anna cover. You'll see them as soon as I do.

Sunday, February 24, 2013
  We discover "Discoverability"

Mario here:

What I'm reading this week: Ice Station by Matt Reilly.

Let me start by admitting a personal fault. Every time a gaggle of publishing experts confabs to lecture us writers what to do in this book business, my jaw clenches, my blood pressure kicks up a notch, and I start trolling gun websites for a good deal on a .357 magnum.

Over at the Writing on the Ether blog, there's a bunch of well-meaning (presumably) folks gassing on about "Discoverability," which is industry-speak for how do readers find your book? The article has a lot of links, most of which lead you to regurgitations of Twitter feeds. So even in this collection of eggheads you have to dig for meaningful (and understandable) information. Thankfully, Lou Edgerly, a media journalist (from here in Denver no less), provides this nugget:

"Physical bookstores are still the place where most books bought are discovered. 31 percent of discovery is physical bookseller. Recommendations account for 14 percent. 11 percent is digital discovery. Social networks account for less than 2 percent."

I don't know where Edgerly got his numbers but they jibe with what we've posted here before, more-or-less. He doesn't break down recommendations between word-of-mouth and those you'll get from reviewers or book sellers, and we've mentioned before that word-of-mouth is the strongest driver of "Discoverability." We won't argue that co-op advertising in the bookstore is definitely a huge factor in reaching the elusive reader (and buyer of your book). Interestingly, he repeats what we've said on a previous blog, that social media is way at the bottom.

The Writing on the Ether blog also feeds us this pronouncement: that 48 percent of book sales on Amazon are planned purchases. Previously, the theory was that readers were led by the nose by Jeff Bezo's algorithm-driven promotional schemes. Forty-eight percent is a significant number and this realization launched a rant about the need for us writers to connect with readers before they even get to Amazon. (As if our practice is to chase away readers with tear gas and cattle prods.) But it overlooks the obvious that the majority of book purchases (52%!) are made by readers browsing through Amazon. And there is where the Amazon-focused marketing ingredients like book covers, descriptions, and sales promotions come into play.

So what in the article gets my blood pumping and my fingers itching for the trigger? Because no where in the discussion does anyone ever say: If you want to make it big in this business, you need to write a good book. One that resonates with readers. The word-of-mouth thing. Every writer's blog, tweet, and YouTube video is done in the hopes that it'll go viral. But as any honest agent or editor will tell you, success in publishing depends as much on "and then God smiled" as it does anything else.

And now, for the good stuff.

Join us for the Apparatus fundraiser. 6PM, March 6, 2013, at Flatirons Coffee in Boulder, CO. Featuring readings in speculative fiction by Julie Kazimer, Jesse Bullington, John E, Stith, Brandon M. Herbert, and myself.

March 18, I start teaching my 4-week workshop, Writing Your First Mystery, at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Besides honing your story-telling skills, it's a great opportunity to join this truly awesome community of writers.

April 10, at the LoDo Tattered Cover, Seattle writer pal, Jennie Shortridge will host a book signing for her latest novel, Love Water Memory. We can't wait.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013
  News from the Whedonverse..
It's snowing. I guess it's a good thing my car is still in the shop. I won't be going out today.
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It's been awhile, but this week I found three items from the Whedonverse to share!

'Castle': Gina Torres And Nathan Fillion Have A 'Firefly' Reunion In 'Real Housewives'-Style Case (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

 The Huffington Post | By Laura Prudom Posted: 02/08/2013 9:01 am EST "Firefly" fans were all aflutter when news broke that Gina Torres would be visiting "Castle" for an on-screen reunion with the former Captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) -- and thankfully the wait is almost over: The episode airs Monday, Feb 11 at 10 p.m. EST on ABC. 

HuffPost TV has an exclusive preview of Torres and Fillion sharing the screen once more -- but this time, they're not exactly on the same team. Torres plays Samantha Foster, a "ruthless fashion mogul" in a "Real Housewives"-style reality show called "The Wives of Wall Street," and as you can see in the clip above, she's apparently not above getting her hands dirty. 

Also appearing in the episode, titled "Reality Star Struck," are Gail O'Grady, Lachlan Buchanan and Heather Ann Davis. Fillion and Torres' fellow "Firefly" co-star, Adam Baldwin, also guest-starred on the show in Season 4. 

Recently, Alan Tudyk (who played Torres' on-screen husband Wash in "Firefly") confirmed that the entire cast would be on board for an "Arrested Development" style revival, while Joss Whedon admitted that he'll "never really accept" the abrupt ending of the cult sci-fi series. 

Now I must admit I missed the episode but the most interesting part of the article was the last paragraph....a Firefly reunion show!!! Yea, team!!

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Then we have this:

Sarah Michelle Gellar - "Crazy Ones" Tv Series - She will star with Robin Williams on CBS 

Sarah Michelle Gellar to Star in Robin Williams’ CBS Comedy ’Crazy Ones’ 

The former "Buffy" star will play the Oscar winner’s daughter in the David E. Kelley workplace comedy pilot. 

Sarah Michelle Gellar is coming back to the small screen — in a comedy. 

The former Buffy the Vampire Slayer star will co-headline CBS’ workplace comedy Crazy Ones, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. 

The single-camera entry revolves around the dynamics between a father named Simon Roberts (Good Will Hunting Oscar winner Robin Williams) and his daughter and is set in the world of advertising. 

Gellar will play Sydney Roberts, Simon’s daughter. She’s described as pretty, intense, driven, organized and burdened with being practical. Sydney is the creative director and life and soul of the Roberts and Roberts Advertising Agency at the center of the comedy. She wants to be her father but is too busy having to parent him. 

Boston Legal’s David E. Kelley will pen the 20th Television single-camera pilot and executive produce alongside Dean Lorey, Bill D’Elia, John Montgomery and Mark Teitelbaum. Jason Winer (Modern Family, 1600 Penn) will direct the pilot. 

Political Animals alum James Wolk also co-stars as Zach Cropper, a copywriter at the agency. 

For Gellar, the role marks her second potential series-regular role in a half-hour comedy and comes a year after the CW axed her twin drama thriller Ringer. The actress previously shot an ill-fated comedy pilot for HBO in 2009 that failed to go to series...

 Photo: Zap2it.com

I really liked Ringer and was sorry it got cancelled. I'm not sure how this is going to play out. David E. Kelley is a good writer and Boston Legal was just funny and weird enough to work. Maybe this will, too.

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From Wikipedia: Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. is a planned American television series created by Joss Whedon and based on the Marvel Comics organization of the same name. It will be produced by Marvel Television and air on the ABC network, and will be set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sharing continuity with the films in that franchise. A pilot, written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, and directed by Joss Whedon, has been given the green-light. 

Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.

Principal photography has wrapped on Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D., ABC’s pilot based on the Marvel Comics super-spy organization. On Feb 12, Showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen tweeted the photograph (at left) top to Instagram earlier today, along with the caption “That’s a wrap."

Don't have an air date yet, but you can bet, I'll be watching this one!

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I hope by next week to be able to post the cover for my new book--actually, maybe even the covers for both new books. We'll see.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013
  Triple pimpage
Mario here:

What I'm reading: Woe To Live On by Daniel Woodrell.

Lots to pimp this week.

First on deck.

Fellow League of Reluctant Adults pal, Michele Bardsley, has recently released her first self-pubbed ebook, Sex, Doug, and a Rocky Road.

Here's the pitch--Ellie Johnson is a Las Vegas housewife dealing with the fallout of her husband’s affair with a big-boobed Australian. As she goes from married to unmarried, Ellie embarks with her best friend on a happiness journey is messy, chaotic, and fraught with ice cream and booze. A lot of booze. Then there’s Doug. You know, the ex-boyfriend who wants to take up with Ellie where they left off more than fifteen years ago. Sometimes, life is the luck of the draw. And sometimes, life is Sex, Doug, and a Rocky Road.

If you're familiar with Bardsley other work, better bring some oxygen to help you survive the laughs.

Next up at bat.

Huge kudos to fellow MWA member Tom Holliday, for at last honchoing his biography of America's great opera composer, Carlisle Floyd, onto the printed page. The local book launch party for Falling Up: The Days and Nights of Carlisle Floyd (Syracuse University Press), will be this Friday, February 22, at the Colfax, Tattered Cover. I love this cover photo. You can truly read Floyd's expression. Man, this composing is freakin' hard work!

And clean up.

Another MWA buddy, Manuel Ramos, will bring us another of his gritty Chicano noir stories, Desperado (Arte Publico Press), to the Colfax Tattered Cover, on April 11. The background in his cover art cracked me up with its chistes.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

The last time I saw him he was walking down lover's lane holding his own hand.
Fred Allen

You know that's said as a joke, but really, we all need to love ourselves. So on this Valentine's Day if you don't have a significant other or kid or pet to do something special for, treat yourself! You deserve it!

Happy Valentine's Day
Sunday, February 10, 2013
  Whoo-hoo, Anna!
Mario here:

What I'm reading: The Trust by Norb Vonnegut.

The crew is back from GalaxyFest 2103, sane and sober. The con was fortunately slightly less chaotic than last year. Hung out with fabulous author friends: Sam Stone, David Boop, Warren Hammond, and Aaron Ritchey, and met some new characters like celebrity booth model AZ Powergirl (who got married at the con!) We'll see what the future holds for GalaxyFest 2014.

The great news is that our own Jeanne was celebated by Barnes & Noble for giving us Anna Strong, one of the ten best kick-butt heroines in urban-fantasy. And the kudos extend to Jaye Wells for her Sabrina Kane series. 

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Thursday, February 07, 2013
  Movies & Stuff
Good news for one of our favorite writer pals Jackie Kessler:

A New Book Sale!

I’m thrilled to announce that my novel TO BEAR AN IRON KEY has sold to the amazing Georgia McBride at Month9Books! KEY is a YA traditional fantasy novel about Bromwyn, a young and powerful witch who is trapped by her grandmother’s curse, her mother’s love and a promise to marry the wrong boy. KEY is slated for publication in spring 2014. 

What that description doesn’t tell you is there’s also a thief, the Fey, and a challenge during Midsummer. Nope, no Riders – this one’s completely different.

I do love her Rider series, too. Check them out if you haven't already.

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A few movies that look very interesting to me:

Hansel & Gretel
Releases Jan 17


Oh yeah!

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Monday, Mario beat me to mentioning  our friend Richelle Mead's upcoming Vampire Academy movie so here's another I'm looking forward to:

We saw one teaser for the new Johnny Depp Lone Ranger during the Superbowl. Here's a second from Disney: 

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Iron Man 3
Releases May 3

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For my wonderful Anna Strong fans, the preorder link is now up on Amazon. No cover yet but if you're inclined to do so, a "like" would be much appreciated!

This weekend a bunch of us will be at Galaxyfest. Since there is no official book seller at this event, Warren Hammond, Mario and I have decided to give away books at our panels. So if you're in the area, be sure to stop by!!!

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Sunday, February 03, 2013
  When the stars shine
Mario here:

What I'm reading: L.A. Requiem by Robert Crais.

The blog is busting with good news.

This Wednesday, critique buddy, Aaron Michael Ritchey, will present a workshop, Hook Me! Making Your First Sentence, First Paragraph, First Page, First Chapter Irresistible! with the Zenith Writers, Southglenn Public Library, Centennial, CO.

And this weekend, you'll find the Biting-Edge corporate staff (Jeanne and myself)--along with backup, Warren Hammond--in Colorado Springs for GalaxyFest 2013. The fun and shenanigans take place in the Antlers Hilton.

We writers dream of hitting the big time: repeatedly making the major bestseller lists, author tours that include international travel, legions of adoring fans, the requisite movie deal. And it does happen. I'm fortunate to know one such lucky person. (Let me define that luck as mountains of talent, brains, and hard work.) I'm talking about Richelle Mead. Years ago, her publisher sent a manuscript of Succubus Blues for a blurb. I put my critique goggles on and prepared myself to slog through the story. But things worked out differently and by the end of the first page I was hooked. What a story. What a writer. A few months later, Richelle was passing through Denver on a road trip/impromptu book tour. Jeanne and I set up a signing for Richelle at the Denver Book Mall and maybe four people showed up. I took Richelle to the downtown Barnes & Noble to sign stock, and it was a bit humiliating to learn they didn't have her book on the shelves. Fast forward a few short years. Richelle continues with the Georgina Kincaid Succubus series, also writes the Dark Swan series, and the Age of X, and hit gold with her YA Vampire Academy series, which consistently pegs the number one bestseller spot on the New York Times and USA Today. In no small turn of irony, Barnes & Noble now offers stacks of her books. But what I most admire about Richelle is that she's the only author who has had books banned she hasn't even written yet! Take that Kurt Vonnegut and Margaret Atwood! And now, the Vampire Academy movie inches closer to reality. Mark Waters will direct, and Zoey Deutch (left) and Lucy Fry will star as Rose and Lisa. Quit slacking, Richelle.

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