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!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Romantic Times Schedule
I know this is not my day-- but for any of you going to RT, thought I should post my schedule.
CORRECTION! Mario here: I added my RT schedule. (Good idea, Jeanne! for once)
Vampire: Count Who?
Wednesday April 28 3:45- 4:45 A discussion of current trends in the vampire genre as well as the tried-and-true vampire mythologies, from Bram Stoker to Twilight.
Captain: Caridad Piñeiro Panelists: Michele Bardsley, Carole Nelson Douglas, Jeanne C. Stein, Jaye Wells Moderator: Charlaine Harris
Urban fantasy: The Big Picture Thursday April 29 10-11 AM Vampires, witches, shapeshifters, fae, goddesses, mediums, zombies! Our panel will discuss the creatures, the subcategories, the superstars of the genre, as well as examine what’s in store for the future — and if there’s still new ground to be uncovered.
Captain: Richelle Mead Panelists: Mario Acevedo, Kelley Armstrong, Vicki Pettersson, Jeanne C. Stein, Rachel Vincent
CRAFT: Why Bad Can be So Good: How to write deliciously evil villains
Friday April 30 10-11 AM The hero may always win but the villain has more fun. Villains get to break the rules. They don't have to play nice. Lying, blackmail, kidnapping, torture, murder, illicit sex...a villain forces your hero into the dark places we're supposed to shun, and your readers can't wait to go along for the ride. We'll discuss our favorite bad guys and girls and the motivations for their amoral behavior. Learn how to give readers what they want, a wicked guilty pleasure.
Panelists: Mario Acevedo, Juliet Blackwell, Mark henry, Diana Rowland, Jeanne C. Stein
VAMPIRE: Vamps, Tramps, and Skeeves
Friday April 30 2:45-3:45 PM
Romance, sex or danger? What are the turn-offs and turn-ons in the modern vampire genre?
May 12, the release date for issue #1 of my comic book, Killing the Cobra: Chinatown Trollop. Thought I'd give you an inside look at the creative process since producing a comic is a lot different than for a novel. For one, the process is a lot more collaborative. I write the scripts and one artist pencils, inks, and colors the panels. Another artist, in this case Pintu, from Spain, does the covers. Someone else does the lettering. And we have an editor tweaking the work as it progresses from script to finished copy.
I submit the script and the artists create panels and cover concepts.
Here are the first two concepts for the cover for issue #1.
We liked the second concept better. Very dramatic even though it's still a sketch.
The final version:
Alberto Dose, the artist who does the panels also contributed a cover.
Now for the panels. Alberto Dose submits pencil sketches based on his interpretation of my script.
Here's copy for Page 1 from the script for Issue #1.
Present day.Dusk.Horizontal view of a harbor with Chinese junks crowded together, basically a squalid floating ghetto.The lights of Hong Kong blaze in the background.
1. SUPERIMPOSED TITLE: HONG KONG
Another horizontal view, emphasizing the masts, rigging, and electrical wires crisscrossed above the junks.A blurry image of a man leaping--Spiderman style--in the gap between two of the masts.Night is getting darker.
High-angle shot of an elderly Chinese woman squatting on the deck of a junk.She’s surrounded by wash hanging on lines as she washes clothes in a bucket (remember, these people are poor).She’s looking up, surprised.
Close up of the woman as she continues to look up at the masts.
The pencil sketch:
You can appreciate Albertos' skill at persepective and rendering faces.
Next he inks the page.
And finally the color. In the old days, these three steps would be done by different artists but are now completed by one artist using graphics programs like Illustrator and PhotoShop.
Next is the lettering, also done now by computer instead of hand lettering, for the final copy. Manipulating the pages in digital format greatly simplifies the editing and correction process.
And here is Felix. When I first saw his picture as a vampire I said he needed a haircut and to bag the trench coat, which Alberto did.
I was asked for my concepts for issue #2. I wanted a crow and a picture of the Chinese vampire shaman.
Here's what I got. Felix looks much too Christ-like. Not him at all.
It was tweaked to this. Closer. In the script, Felix was shot off a ship but I thought the design could be improved.
And the final. Very nice. My favorite cover so far. Felix looks like a real bad ass.
Alberto had his ideas of what the shaman looked like and here is what he drew for the panels. Creepy dude.
And if you're curious what Alberto Dose looks like. He's worked in Argentina, Italy, Spain, and France and his work includes story boards for the TV show Rugrats. Alberto currently lives in Burbank, CA.
Broken Links, Mended Lives
This will be short. I am under the weather--now that's a stupid expression--I'm sick. Since next week is Romantic Times, I just hope to be back in fighting shape by Tuesday. But here are a couple of things of interest.
Colorado Center for the Book at Colorado Humanities is pleased to announce that finalists have been selected for the 2010 Colorado Book Awards.
"This year's selectors read and discussed 145 entries to select these authors and their works for the Colorado Book Awards finalist level," says Josephine Jones, Colorado Humanities Director of Programs & Center for the Book.
The Colorado Book Awards recognize outstanding contributions by Colorado authors, editors, illustrators and photographers in multiple categories: anthology/collection, biography, children's literature, creative nonfiction, history, literary fiction, genre fiction (historical, romance, science fiction/fantasy, mystery/thriller) general nonfiction, juvenile literature, pictorial, poetry, and young adult literature.
Winners in all categories will be announced at the 19th annual Colorado Book Awards in June during the Aspen Summer Words Literary Festival the week of June 21-25, 2010.
2010 COLORADO BOOK AWARDS FINALISTS
Broken Links Mended Lives: A selection of short stories by members of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Janet Lane, Susan Mackay Smith and Jeanne C. Stein, editors, RMFW Press
A Dozen on Denver: Stories, Rocky Mountain News, editor, Fulcrum Publishing
Beats At Naropa: An Anthology, Anne Waldman and Laura Wright, editors, Coffee House Press
Broken Links, Mended Lives is the anthology that Susan Mackay Smith, Janet Lane and I edited. So we are particularly excited about the honor. We had a great collection of stories including one by our own Mario (and we made the finals anyway!)
# # # #
An attaboy to my publisher Penguin for this new program;
We Give Books is a free website that enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the hands of children who don’t have them, simply by reading online.
Simply choose the charity you want to read for and then select the books you want to read. For each book you read online, we donate a book to a leading literacy group on your behalf.
Zombies Defense Tactics plus smoke about ePublishing
Barely survived a thoroughly kick-ass weekend at StarFest. The costumes were amazing, from the cartoonish to the scandalous. As if hand-crafting costumes wasn't enough, for many attendees a ride to fantasyland needs the necessary wheels. Is this a blind date ride or what!
I reconnected with many friends in the horror biz, to include actor/director/writer/producer Ford Austin. His latest offering is the comedic and over-the-top splatterfest, Dahmer vs Gacy. The movie includes a cameo appearance (as a rat-noshing homeless murder victim) by Del Howison, owner of Dark Delicacies.
I've blogged about my comic book, Killing the Cobra, and so attended ComicFest to meet local vendors and other artists. Got an excited response all the way around.
And just in time for the Zombie Apocalypse:
Martial arts instructor Brent Bingham offered a workshop on Zombie Defense Tactics.
Bingham showing how to deflect and redirect a zombie attack, followed by a skull crushing blow--the only sure way to dispatch a revenant attacker.
The workshop included hands-on takedown exercises. The ladies were quite enthusiastic in learning the combative skills to avoid becoming meat snacks.
I learned about this great video of Dart Vader dubbed over with classic James Earl Jones audio clips. Makes the Evil One even more of a badass.
Hurray for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers!
Their anthology Broken Links; Mended Lives, is a finalist for a Colorado Book Award. Jeanne served as editor and I have a short story.
The introduction of the iPad has heated up an already boiling dialog about epublishing. Most of the conversation is driven by owners of self-publishing companies. Their argument can be rendered down to this: with epublishing, a writer doesn't need the permission of a publisher to get their book to the public.
High-tech e-book gadgets are one thing that is revolutionizing publishing. If companies like Silicon Valley startup FastPencil get their way, new social-networking-based self-publishing services will be another. FastPencil is what CEO Steve Wilson calls a "next-gen" publisher, which uses social networking and an arsenal of widgets to take authors through their book projects from the drawing board to the bookshelf, potentially for as little as $10. The key, says Wilson, is that FastPencil gets involved with authors as they write their books -- not after, as traditional and other online publishers do.
A caveat that's buried in the interview is this: In fact, a lot of our authors don't even care if their books are profitable.
If you're one of us working writers, yes we do! I could pick this article apart because what FastPencil offers is nothing new, it's an updated pitch for a vanity press. So they offer to leverage social networking to help sell books, big deal. We writers have been doing that on our own for years.
What a week...
Today I send off book seven, Crossroads, to the editor. No matter how well you plan it, how detailed the synopsis, how well you think you know the characters, something always happens to derail your plans. I’ve rewritten the ending three times and I’m still not sure if I’ve got it right. I guess it will take you readers to tell me how I did.
Crossroads comes out August 2011.
* * * *
So, it’s been a week of writing and very little else. But there were a couple of things that caught my eye. This, for instance:
University of Hertforshire Conference (This is one of those links that blogger won't take so I guess if you're interested, do a google search- drat)
Open Graves, Open Minds: Vampires and the Undead in Modern Culture
Sounds like fun, though with all those PhD types, this one might become a bit dry. Vampire panels are not supposed to be dry. Bloody, not dry.
* * * *
For you writers out there:
The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers announces the opening of its 27th Annual Colorado Gold Writing Contest for pre-published writers of novel-length fiction.
Entries will be accepted in five categories: Mainstream, Action/Adventure, Mystery, Romance, and Speculative Fiction. RMFW judges will select five finalists in each category. An agent or editor attending the Colorado Gold Writers Conference will choose the winners, who will be announced at the Awards Banquet on September 11, 2010, in Denver. You need not be present to win.
For the Official Rules and Entry Instructions, go to here to enter and pay online.
It’s quick and easy to enter The Colorado Gold Writing Contest. The deadline is June 1, 2010.
I am a presenter at this conference, as is Mario. We usually judge an entry or two, as well.
* * * *
I’m off this weekend to Lake Havasu. My sis and daughter and I are spending a girl’s weekend. I’m going to need a little R & R.
In that vein, I will never complain about an airport security guard asking to see my cell phone. Look at this.
There’s a video of the thing firing here but I couldn’t copy it to the blog.
* * * *
So, I’m off. But I leave you with a video Derek Tatum shared on Facebook. On the off chance that one or two of you out there are not on Facebook, enjoy. I know I did.
See you on the flip side--
PS Deb Parker from Englewood Library just posted some pics from last Sunday's gala on her Facebook page. Here's one with Rhonda Spellman , me, and Mike Befeler setting up. I'm not sure what Mike is showing us, but it certainly caught our attention!
Women and the word (clothed and naked) Mario here:
Since getting published, I've attended a lot of cons: BoucherCon, NorwesCon, Bubonicon, RT, ThrillerFest. But this last weekend was my first AWP Annual Conference--a really big event as you can see by the crowd packing the Colorado Convention Center.
The difference between AWP and the rest (besides the lack of costumes) is that AWP is a literary con: lots of poets, literary magazines, small press, writing programs. I was there because my short story had been published in Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery. I got to meet several of the other contributors--Sergio Troncoso, Dr. Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Manuel Ramos, and Sarah Cortez when we read excerpts of our stories at a panel. Being writers, afterwards we gabbed about writing while we drank. La Bloga was there in force and read what contributor RudyG posted. Here I am with Manuel Ramos and RudyG at one of the many receptions putting calluses on our livers.
Sunday, Biting-Edge deployed to the Englewood Library for their Meet the Faces Behind the Books author shmooze. Jeanne and I ran into a lot of familiar faces to include a couple of our all-time favorite writers: the accomplished Carrie Vaughn (left) of Kitty the Werewolf series, and writing dynamo Lynda Sandoval (right), scribe of YA, romance, and non-fiction.
Carrie has a new YA book, Voice of Dragons.
Lynda has burned it up with the hilarious Unsettling.
Once you get published, people think life is all gravy from there. Sorry to disappoint, but if you want to survive as a working writer, then get used to rejection. Multi-published Megan Hart vlogs about a recent experience over at her blog with Laura Dane, danehart.com.
We Denverites think of Westword as the last word in cool but alas, those hipsters atSeattle's theStranger manage to pull ahead of us. Now there are a lot of gimmicks to entice the public to a book signing but here's one that escaped me: Fleshing Out the Narrative, naked ladies reading science fiction. Photo by David Peterman.
Seattle is wet and cold...
And that's all I've got to say about that.
Picture alert: I don't know why Blogger seems to arbitrarily drop some of my pics. In fact, sometimes they're there, and sometimes they're not... Shit.
A few pics from Norwescon but first a little book to screen news from Variety .
HBO approves series based on George RR Martin’s books
HBO has greenlighted the new series "Game of Thrones," and it's not just TV execs who are hoping for the next "True Blood."
Also keeping their fingers crossed are the folks at Bantam Spectra Books, the Random House imprint that publishes "A Song of Ice and Fire," the George R.R. Martin book series that inspired the skein.
The AMC network has greenlighted six episodes of a project based on Robert Kirkman's graphic novel series The Walking Dead. Frank Darabont co-wrote and is directing the pilot, which will begin shooting in June and is "targeted for an October bow, dovetailing with Halloween and AMC's annual 'Fearfest' two-week marathon of horror and thriller pics," Variety reported.
"He's taken the baseline road map of the underlying material and just blew it out to the next level," said Joel Stillerman, AMC's senior v-p of programming, production and digital content. "There's stuff in there that will make the people who love the comics very happy and some surprises in there as well."
JKR was at the White House Easter Egg event, and she was asked about future books and whether she would ever write anything else in the HP universe.
Okay, Norwescon was a blast—mostly because I stayed with the great Mark Henry and his lovely wife Caroline. He not only took me in, he had the fabulous Jaye Wells as a houseguest as well. Now I ask you, is that going above and beyond???
Actually, now that I’m looking over the pictures, I don’t have ANY of the con. But here are a few taken after when the fun really started.
Mark, Caroline and Jaye on our Easter drive up the coast.
Jaye posing by the water...she's such a drama queen!
Jaye in front of the coolest high school in the country! Can you name the movie that it was featured in?
Then, Monday we did some touristy things-- the market, watching the fish throw, browsing the stalls. Synde Korman joined us. Synde is the creative genious behind Cemetery Cat jewelry. Of course, we had to visit the troll under the bridge.
We wanted to get a picture without the kids, but short of shoving them off, we couldn't figure out how. And their mother was right there. She was big.
Then it was off to the University Book Store for a signing with the three of us and Corey Doctorow.
Even though it may look like it, this pose is not me looking adoringly at Mark-- it's me practicing his long neck look for photos. He, obviously, doesn't practice what he preaches.
Nice crowd, good questions. Friends Cherie Priest, Kat Richardson and Richelle Mead were in attendance as well. Kat and Cherie had to leave after, but Richelle and her husband and Caroline and a pal joined us at the Chapel for drinks and food, not necessarily in that order.
Don't we look angelic?
I guess that's it...I did want to add one last reminder--both Mark and Jaye have new books out. Check them out. I'd like to stay with Mark again and if you don't buy enough books, he may be forced to move in with me. Mage in Black is Jaye's second effort and even better than her first. They have the Biting Edge seal of approval.
Oh-- and a program note. This weekend I have two appearances:
April 9 5 - 6:30 PM
Barnes and Noble Book Fair Fashion Pavilion 500 16th Street Denver CO Benefit for Phi Sigma Sigma
April 11 1 PM Englewood Public Library 1000 Englewood Parkway Englewood CO 80110