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!
Come for a Drink. Stay for a Bite.
My editor just sent over copy of an ad for my novel, Happy Hour at Casa Dracula, and I loved the tag line: Come for a drink. Stay for a bite. When I was thinking of titles for my book, I found out that all the good ones are taken. Anything with bite, vein, blood, and vampire are gone, baby, gone.
My favorite vampire titles? I think Charlaine Harris does a good job with her Dead series: Dead Until Dark
, Definitely Dead
, Living Dead in Dallas
, and Dead as a Doornail
. Her heroine, Sookie Stackhouse, is clairvoyant, but considered just weird in the small Southern town where she works as a waitress.
Harris's books are a two-fer: ya get a cool vampire story and great Southern flavor.
Speaking of Southern flavor, I had my first book event, a visit to Dallas with the members of the Dirty Book Club. Yes, the name of their club is a joke. They were funny, smart women who treated me to a Southern meal complete with grits, hominy, and tomato pie. The most popular dish of the evening was something called Heaven on a Cracker. The ingredients were: cream cheese, Miracle Whip, bacon, scallions, and crushed Ritz crackers. Serve with Fritos and your guests will swoon like a schoolmarm in a bodice-ripper.
We washed it down with sangria
, which was the perfect drink for a discussion about vampire books.
On the Road
Just a reminder for anyone attending the LA Times Festival of Books this weekend-- Mario and I will be signing Saturday, April 29, 2:00 PM., Mysterious Galaxy Booth #601, Zone F, Dickson Court North, UCLA campus, Los Angeles. I will be at the LA Sisters in Crime booth Saturday, 4:00 - 6:00 pm, booth #221 by Royce Hall. Please stop by and say hello!
Hang with the Vamp Writers!
If you'd like to meet my fellow bloggers, you can hang (upside down) with them at the L.A. Times Festival of Books
. Find them on Saturday, April 29, 2:00 PM., Mysterious Galaxy Booth #601, Zone F, Dickson Court North, UCLA campus, Los Angeles.
Mario is totally rockin' now that THE NYMPHOS OF ROCKY FLATS has already gone into its second printing. I know why because I just finished reading the action-packed, funny story about Felix Gomez, vampire and detective. Felix has his regrets, but he's not a big ol' baby whiner like a lot of other vamps. And he's not afraid to kick butt.
It's vamps 24/7 with me, so I watched "Supernatural"
last night, and not just because the soundtrack and rides are way cool. The episode dealt with biker vamps who wore black leather, lived in a grimy barn, and swilled JD from the bottle. It was awright, dude, but a little pitchy. I'm thinking that if I had a couple of hundred years to live, I'd definitely be hanging out (upside-down) in swankier joints than a cow-pie-ridden barn. Maybe these vamps were just no good at financial planning.
It doesn't matter, because I like the show anyway. I'm a sucker for smart-aleck heroes battling away at creatures of the night. It's a great tradition from "Kolchak: The Night Stalker,"
to "The X-Files," to "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer," on. I'm talking the old, old "Kolchak," not the stake-me-before-I-die-of-boredom remake that appeared last year.
I think I've mentioned before that I'm not a veteran blogger. In fact, I must admit I read only one or two blogs, and even those I don't read on a regular basis. My bad. But novel writing is my business, and that takes up most of my time. I thought once I left a day job, I'd have so many hours in the day, I could keep up with correspondence, house and garden work, a newsletter I write for a beer importer and STILL have loads of time left over for the business of actually writing a book.
I was wrong.
So blogging is hard for me. Especially since I don't know what you as readers or other writers might want to know. My partners, Marta and Mario, came up with some ideas. One, in particular, struck a chord with me. For you pre-published authors out there with a manuscript and no idea what to do with it, there is a contest you should know about. Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is an organization to which Mario and I both belong. They are running a contest in conjunction with the annual Colorado Gold Conference held in the fall. Here is a chance to get your manuscript critiqued by published writers and eventually, if you are a finalist, before the eyes on an acquiring agent or editor. This is a good deal! The entry fee is nominal, $25.00 an entry, $50,00 is you request a formal critique. Entry details, including format, can be found on the RMFW website: www.RMFW.org Contest deadline is June 1.
Last night at our writers group, Mario shared the news that NYMPHOS has gone into a second printing! That's REALLY big! So congratulations to Mario! He and I are heading to LA next week to be a part of the LA Times Festival of Books. We are staying in the same hotel, a little jewel called The Clairemont. Now, anytime a website uses words like "Old European Charm", you've got to be nervous. But it's cheap and close to the UCLA campus, so we're taking a chance. Wish us luck!
Celebrating the Resurrection...with machine guns
Every year my youngest son and I go on a pilgrimage to eastern Colorado. This year the pilgrimage fell on the Easter weekend.
The occasion for our pilgrimage is to attend the weapons shoot sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, who bring out their arsenals for the public to enjoy. Imagine your typical spring fair with booths, flags, and concessions, only the goods offered are the ammunition to shoot in a variety of machine guns, fifty caliber sniper rifles, pistols with silencers, and the occasional cannon.
My son considered the Star Wars light saber as the ultimate weapon until he fired the German MP 5 submachine gun, the preferred firearm of SWAT teams. Later, after zipping through a belt of thirty cartridges in a fearsome Wehrmacht MG42 machine gun, my son was impressed enough to ask, "What is it with Germans and automatic weapons?" And our haj wouldn't be complete without a turn on the firing line with that American classic, a Tommy Gun, a.k.a. the Chicago typewriter.
Since this gun shoot happened over the Easter weekend, God didn't seem too pleased so he made it rain, then sleet. Usually my son and I hang out to picnic and watch the guns but being cold and miserable wasn't on our agenda. On the way home, though we were sopping wet, we talked about how much more fun we had shooting guns instead of going to church.
Enough with the chupacabras already. I'm not even going to mention that Mario's so-called "date" was on an evening when he was hanging with a peyote-dealing shaman who lifted his wallet, doped his caramel frappacino, and totalled his 1966 Chevy Malibu SS convertible.
On to other creatures of the night, and my taste runs toward funny scary. If you haven't seen the comic horror flick "Shaun of the Dead"
rush to your video store and rent it right now. A couple of British slackers must fight off an invasion of zombies. There's a great fight scene in a pub with Queen blasting on the soundtrack.
If you'd like to read my interview with comic horror writer Christopher Moore, which ran in the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday, here it is
I'd love to include zombies in a story someday, but wish they had better fashion sense and were capable of witty banter.
Ask And Sometimes You Live to Regret It....
Okay, I now know everything there is to know about the Chupacabra. I'm still trying to figure out how Mario managed to sit with her in a coffee bar (even one north of Denver) without someone complaining. I mean, really, how would you like to be sitting next to someone LAPPING their chai! It's disgusting.
I guess my next challenge is to work one into my books. Let's see, my vamp protagonist, who does hang out in the desert a lot, might run up against a Chupacabra chasing a were person who has the unhappy fate of becoming a goat at each full moon. Come to think of it, I've never heard of a were-goat. I guess now we know why.
Last week on this blog Jeanne asked for the skinny on "chupacabra" since Marta's and my definition didn't match. Taken literally, "chupa" means "suck." "cabra" is "goat." Suck-goat. What does that mean?
To set the record straight I went to the source and asked a chupacabra. Where would I find a chupacabra? Quite easily. On Match.com. She had an adorable screen name: dontphucwithme
We met at the Monkey Bean, a cafe north of downtown Denver. She wore a tank, shorts, and flip-flops. I ordered dark roast Zapatista blend, Chupacabra had a soy chai.
"What," I asked, "no blood?"
"I'm a strict vegan, I don't even give hickies."
"Then how do you define yourself?"
She lapped her chai with a forked tongue. "What if my last name would've been 'Glasscock?' Would you have asked the same question?"
Other than the talons, leathery green skin, and mouthful of serrated teeth, she didn't fit my definition of a "chupacabra."
Her cell phone vibrated and she answered. "It's my girlfriends," she said to me. "We're going to party tonight with zombies and werewolves. They're not vegetarians. Wanna come with?"
"Wise decision." Chupacabra got up and left.
Beware the Chupacabra!
It totally sucks...
I'm reading Mario's book, THE NYMPHOS OF ROCKY FLATS, and I came across his chupacabra reference, too. But the term was being used as an affectionate nickname for a sexy chanteuse, I think, as in, "Sing 'Melancholy Baby,' you gorgeous blood-sucking goat-killer."
I like to use the word in the classical sense. The chupacabra is a fairly recent addition to the monster and demon family and, I think, unfairly ignored because of, yes, bias. While the European vampires flaunt their satin capes and fancy chateaus, the earnest chupacabra lurks around desolate desert towns and is all too often the victim of meth-addicted truck drivers speeding home from the bar so they can beat their wives.
Yes, the chupacabra is a third-class citizen of the monster world, dreaming of the night when parents will warn their children, "Brush your teeth or the chupacabra will come get you!"
If it's Wednesday.....
Random thoughts on -- well, random thoughts.
Mario's signing at TC was a tremendous success! He made the Denver Post's Local Best Seller List at #3-- and not one person in the audience that I heard mentioned his slightly thinning, graying hair. Course I was sitting way in front so I might have missed it....
Had one of those writing weeks when I was just plain tired of my vamp character so I decided to start a new book. No vamps. Got going pretty good when I found out that my publisher at Berkley wants the third Anna Strong book by Sept. 1st-- And here I thought I had a year!!! No more new book for awhile.
And the most disturbing thing of all-- re-read Mario's Nymphos of Rocky Flats. (We had it in critique, of course, but since the publishing business moves at a glacial pace, it's been almost two years since I read it). Anyway, there on page 155 was a reference to a "chupacabra". Where had I heard that before? My dim light bulb brain went on... right here, in one of Marta's first posts. I checked the archives. Sure enough-- Marta's second novel, Barbecue at Motel De Los Montruos, features a chupacabra! But here's the rub-- Marta says it's a goat-killing flying monkey. Mario says it's a demon who drinks goat's blood. Okay, blog partners-- who's got it right????????
The Face of an Author
I had my first for-real book signing a week ago. My publisher arranged for my book launch party at the Tattered Cover in Lower Downtown Denver. The Tattered Cover is one of the premier bookstores in the country and a local institution. Scribes of every type--hell, ex-presidents even--make sure the TC is on their itinerary.
It was with immense pride that I took center-stage that night. A bookcase full of my books, topped with a huge poster of the book cover, faced the audience. Extra chairs were brought in and the final headcount for the evening was 150.
I pulled out all the stops to get that crowd. Whenever the subject of writing came up, I'd whip out a postcard invitation. In every organization I've belonged to for the last five years, I've kept names and addresses. I volunteer with El Centro Su Teatro, a Latino theater group, and they offered their mailing list of donors. A lot of friends obliged me and I was flattered by the attendance.
Some took photographs of the long line to get my autograph (and not to use the bathroom), of my beaming face, and a few snapshots of my head from unexpected angles. Those photos prompted me to ask, what's up with my hair…or lack of it? Meager graying strands lay across my brown scalp. Above my forehead, fluttered a pathetic tuft marking what was left of a proud widow's peak. It seemed every camera must have had the mode setting on "geezer."
Embarrassed, I asked my women friends what they thought of the pictures. You look nice, they said.
But my hair!
What about it?
I look awful.
And you've noticed now? You always look like that. It makes you appear distinguished, intellectual. Sorta like an author.