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!

Monday, May 31, 2010
  Mom, today we learned about vampires and nymphos

Mario here:

I was recently a guest speaker at Barnum Elementary.  The challenge was how to describe my books without revealing the titles because I didn't want the kids to go home and say, "Guess what, mom.  Today we had a guy talk about The Nymphos of Rocky Flats and X-Rated Bloodsuckers!" Fortunately, my latest book Werewolf Smackdown has a G-rated title and I had PowerPoint slides to show of my comic book.

RudyG (of La Bloga) had invited me to his class of English as a Second Language students.  Very bright kids though a bit shy, at first.  They sent me fan mail and a large poster decorated with vampiros and other undead creatures.


This last weekend we bid farewell to Dennis Hopper.  While he's mostly remembered for Easy Rider and Blue Velvet (as the deliciously creepy Frank Booth), Hopper also starred in gems such as Space Truckers (with the deliciously bikinied Debi Mazar).

How much can you tell about someone by what they wear?  And can you extend that analysis to their writing?  Well, I did and I welcome your opinions over at my guest blog with Pens Fatales.

If you missed my comic book signing at the Goosetown Tavern, I'm doing another presentation of the artwork over at the Broadway Book Mall, 200 S Broadway, Denver, this next Sunday, June 6, at 3PM.  

That same weekend, also check out the The Denver Chalk Art Festival at Larimer Square.  Two of my favorite local artists, Jen Mosquera and Eric Matelski will be getting sweaty and grimy as they create masterpieces on the pavement.  Here's Jen with her Scamp art trailer.

Have a great Memorial Day.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
  Writers and Readers...what we owe each other
We've had an interesting discussion going on between some writer pals on a private loop. The subject? Reader reviews published on blogs and Amazon that are more attacks on the writer than the book. No writer expects everyone to like their stuff-especially when you're writing something like Urban Fantasy. But attacking the author's talent, integrity or subject matter simply because you can seems less than honest. Sometimes what is said is not even an accurate recounting of the plot which makes one wonder if the reviewer read the book or formed his or her opinions based on what he thought it was about.

I want to know what you think. Writers and readers out there. How much store do you put in reviews? Do you take into consideration who is doing the review? If a review is very negative, do you take into consideration the tone of the review? Is it well thought out critique or is it a mean-spirited rant?

I've been on the receiving end of some pretty negative reviews. I've come to the point where I don't read Amazon reviews at all anymore. The good or the bad. You don't remember the good ones and you never forget the bad. The only comments I pay attention to now our those of my critique group, my beta readers and the fans who email me directly through my website. Those are the readers whose opinions I value.

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Since we seem to be on a writing kick today, here's an interesting post that might stimulate some plot ideas. COLD CASE: 20 BIGGEST UNSOLVED MURDERS from Criminal Justice University.

I mentioned a week or so ago that we've been working on updating the website. It's up now. We're still tweaking but my friend Jay Salam has done a splendid job. Take a look if you have a moment. Any comments are appreciated. And Jay reminded me to add that some bookmarked pages may no longer work due to the revamp.


Special congratulations to pal Richelle Mead whose Spirit Bound debuted #1 on the USA Today bestseller list! Way to go, my friend!

And if your looking for a recap of books recently released, check out Carolyn Crane's blog --the thrillionth page.. she'd done a great job...

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I'll leave you with a very cool video by Parnell Hall. Every writer I know has experienced this at one time or another... before now, none of us felt like singing about it though (except maybe Mario and that's too horrible to contemplate!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010
  Pimp-o-rama, plus lighter shelves, and the mighty power of the simple pen

Mario here:

Much to pimp this week.

Manuel Ramos, winner of a Colorado Book Award and an Edgar nominee, hosted the launch party of his newest novel, King of the Chicanos, at the Tattered Cover on Colfax.  The title alone is an indicator of the cultural freight Manuel chose to pull.  But the novel is no homage to the Chicano movement, rather it's the story of Ramon Hidalgo, a man lifted, then dashed, by his ambition and hubris.  

A sample of the dazzling prose is this last paragraph of the opening chapter when Pancho Arango reluctantly attends the funeral of Ramon Hidalgo, the story's protagonist:

"Arango could not hold back the rush of emotion that slammed him as the coffin was lowered into the hole in the earth.  His tears fell and were sucked into the dust the same way that Ramon's physical remains were sucked into the dark void of the grave.  A few of the others noticed Arango's emotions, assumed wrong conclusions about him and what he was doing there, and one or two even nodded in recognition.  Despite the crowd, the buzz from the television camera and the rolling sway of the earth caused by the burial of the man who had once been a god, Arango stood alone, as tall and straight as he could manage under the weight of all he knew, all he had witnessed, and he convinced himself that only he among all of them had a right to be there.  He had been the one who had truly listened to Ramon when all the others heard only blasphemy, who talked, shouted, cursed at him when he failed to respond, and who walked out on him when it was much too late for such drama. Pancho Arango made himself believe that he, alone, knew the story."

Later in the week, at the Tattered Cover LoDo, William Haywood Henderson, of Lighthouse Writers Workshops, presented the re-release of his debut novel, Native, now issued by Bison Books of the University of Nebraska Press.  He was interviewed by Chris Ransick, Denver Poet Laureate, and Bill spoke at length about the strangeness of revisiting a book he had written fifteen years ago.  Interestingly, Bill's book addressed the same themes of gay awareness, isolation, and in the same locale as was narrated in Annie Proulx's later work, Brokeback Mountain. Just as politics served as the backdrop for King of the Chicanos, in Native, the AIDS plague of the 80s casts its malevolent shadow on the story's central characters. Despite the dark tone of his book, Bill charmed the audience with his sunny wisdom and easy humor.

Now in the world of urban fantasy, fellow Leaguer Stacia Kane (she packs a switchblade) is featured starting Monday, May 24, at our good pals, Bitten by Books.  Enter the contest and win cool shwag.

And there's even more good news about another Leaguer. Nicole Peeler is taking a position as an assistant professor at Seton Hill, in Pennsylvania, in the country's only MFA program for writing popular fiction.  One of us is finally inside the ramparts of literary academia. Heh, heh, heh.  

Here is a picture of something that is not there.  By that I mean, some books are missing.  One thing we writers have in common is that we love books.  Then at what point do we admit that we're about to buried under the stacks that teeter against our walls?   I had to clear some of the clutter from my shelves so I boxed up books that I've toted for years, from New Mexico, to Georgia, California, Alabama, Texas, California again, and now to Colorado.  Most were history books that I've kept as reference for stories that I admit I'll never write.  They were sold to a used book store in the hope of finding them good homes.  Books that continue to crowd my shelves, even though I may not ever read all of them, are the signed copies.  I know how hard it is to get published, so I think it's good karma that I keep them.  

The iPad has amazingly seductive software for writing, part of the package deal of embracing a new, more sophisticated, more capable you.  Yet really, all that sexy techie stuff doesn't make writing any easier.  Despite the technology, sometimes I have to unplug, go hide, and crank out the words by hand.  Using a pen.  On paper.  I avoid taking a laptop, and especially keep away from that time suck hole known as the Internet. I find that a change in locations, usually a coffee shop (because writers and coffee shops go together like sailors and brothels) helps give me a fresh perspective and loosen those stubborn words.  

If you haven't yet seen the photos of my comic book signing, 
check them out here.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Three new books out that you UF fans might be interested in. I included Amazon links but if you have a local bookstore, I’m sure they’d be more than willing to help you, too.

Actually, the first is an online novel by Jackie Kessler. She’s publishing the newest Hell on Earth installment here . Check it out

Secondly, our Reluctant Adult pal, Stacia Kane is debuting a very unique, very darkly wonderful new series with Unholy Ghosts .

And at the risk of being redundant, my pal Charlaine Harris has released the newest Sookie, Dead in the Family . If you haven’t seen it, she’s #1 on the NYT bestseller list along with just about every other list in the world!!! Brava!

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Last weekend I was in Fairplay and I came back with almost 14000 words written and the glow that comes with accomplishment. These retreats renew spirit and mind. Waking into the Hand Hotel is like coming home. The staff, the magician of a manager, Mike, the sun room we gather in each morning—I wouldn’t change a thing. Every time Monday rolls around and it’s time to go, we leave reciting the same mantra…until next time.

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I suppose this shouldn’t surprise us—

Salary dispute holding up 'Twilight 5' announcement

Mon May 10, 2010 @ 07:33PM PST By Matthew Bellon

EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment is working furiously to close the talent deals required to split Stephenie Meyer's fourth "Twilight" novel into two films. But an unlikely roadblock is holding up an announcement -- and could even lead to cast changes for the series' final installment.

Director Bill Condon is also on board, but "Summit is having a harder time locking in some of the franchise's secondary characters. Deals for Peter Facinelli (who plays Carlisle Cullen) and Billy Burke (Bella's father, Charlie Swan) are done, but we're told the actors who play the Cullen kids (especially Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene) are trying to sink their teeth into bigger paydays that, at least at this point, the studio behind the billion-dollar franchise is unwilling to provide. 'We may have a situation where one of them is thrown out on the street to make a point,' says a source close to the dealmaking," the Hollywood Reporter wrote.

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Bad Days in Literature quiz. Didn’t get too many right, but it was fun to take. Makes me realize I’m reading UF almost exclusively now and that I’ve pretty much forgotten all the classics I read in college. Anybody get them all right?

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Author J.A. Konrath made news this week with his announcement that he’d made a deal with Amazon to publish his next book in the Jack Daniel’s Series, Shaken. He’s never been shy about his feelings that ebooks are the future of publishing or that he’a made more money on ebooks than on his print novels. Food for thought.

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From USA Today :

For those who can't get enough of HBO’s True Blood, which returns for a third season in June, a six-issue comic book miniseries from IDW Publishing will make its debut at the San Diego Comic-Con in July.

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Which is a nice segue into Mario’s launch party on Tuesday for Killing the Cobra. I’m sure he’ll have lots of pictures for us on Monday and he was his usual charming self. It was an evening of fun and I brought home something special (besides the comic, of course.) From In Case of Attack.com :

Custom Emergency Preparedness Kits
Are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse?
Vampire attacks?
We are... and we can help you too.

With our custom made IN CASE OF ATTACK Emergency Preparedness Kits, you'll be able to fend off attacks from the worst of the worst to protect you and your loved ones. Each kit comes with everything you need to take down supernatural enemies, including a pocket survival manual.

I’m ready. How about you?
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Mario here:

There are many proud days in a writer's life:

Finishing a manuscript.  Getting a book published.  And watching your kid graduate from college.

My youngest son Emiliano graduated today from Metro State College in Denver, another step on a path that included:

Stalking the apartment in Flower Mound, TX.

Playing Aquaman in Fresno, CA.

Posing as Judge Dredd with the costume I made for him.

Prom night.  Arvada, CO.


Graduation.  English major with a minor in philosophy.  A man with big ideas.  He plans to teach but I know he wants to write (wonder where he got that itch?)

The occasion was a great opportunity to get with family and friends.  My sister Sylvia, her partner Janet, Emil (in the fashionable red hat), and friend Ilana in Wash Park.

The procession onto the field.  The ceremony was outside and we couldn't have had better weather unless it had rained money.

Emil with his older brother, Alex.

With fellow graduate and friend, Cassandra.
And now, to march into the future (and a step closer to moving out of the house).

Breaking news!
From Publishers Lunch:

"TEMPEST RISING author Nicole Peeler's next three Jane True books, again to Devi Pillai at Orbit, by Rebecca Strauss at McIntosh & Otis."   Can't wait!

As for me,

the launch party for my comic book, 
Killing the Cobra, Issue #1.
7-9PM, May 18, at the Goosetown Tavern.
Food.  Drink Specials.  Door Prizes.
And comics!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
  Fairplay- Here I Come!!!
Well, got lots done this week but have lots more to do before taking off for a Fairplay Writers Retreat tomorrow. I've set a word goal for myself of 16000 words in four days. Can I make it? I'll let you know.

Mario mentioned our friends over at First Offenders who closed down their blog. They had a featured video each week and this was the last. I think it's good enough to rate a repeat.

Good news from one of our own: Suzanne Lazear! From Publishers Marketplace:

Suzanne Lazear's INNOCENT DARKNESS: A Steampunk Fairytale, in which an adventure-seeking sixteen year old who has been incarcerated at an abusive reform school for her delinquent ways is rescued by a mysterious man from the realm of Faerie who reveals she must die in sacrifice in order to save the entire Otherworld civilization, to Brian Farrey at Flux, in a two-book deal, by Laura Bradford at Bradford Literary Agency (World English).

Way to go, Suzi!!!

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Do you have kids?

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS - News), the world’s largest bookseller, announced the launch of its 2010 Summer Reading program featuring Scholastic’s bestselling multi-media adventure series The 39 Clues®. Children in grades 1-6 can earn a free book just by reading eight books and turning in a completed journal sheet. The free program kicks off in Barnes & Noble stores across the country May 25th and continues through September 6th. Barnes & Noble.com (www.bn.com) will host Summer Reading blogs, games and other activities.

Details here .

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This is just plain weird.

Police are looking for the mummified remains of a baby after its grave was found disturbed, authorities said.

Concord police said that a person visiting Blossom Hill Cemetery reported that the grave of a mummified baby buried two years ago appeared to have been disturbed. Investigators obtained a court order to exhume the grave and determined that the corpse had been removed. The casket was left behind.

The grave belonged to a mummified baby that the Peavey family of Concord said had been in their possession for decades.

The family called the remains "Baby John" and said they believed it was a stillborn child of an ancestor, but DNA tests were inconclusive. The state took the body once it learned of its existence, and when the family could not prove it was a relative, the remains were buried in March 2008.

For you writers out there, I think I've mentioned this before but the deadline is drawing near so if you plan to enter, do it now.

RMFW writing contest,

Submit the first twenty pages of your manuscript and an eight-page synopsis. Two RMFW judges will evaluate and score each entry. The FIVE highest-scoring submissions above 130 points in each category will make the finals and then be judged by an agent or editor who is attending the Colorado Gold Conference. One winner will be picked in each category. Winners receive $100.00 and a certificate. The remaining finalists will receive $30.00 and a certificate. Winners will be announced at the Colorado Gold Writers Conference, September 10-12, 2010 at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver, CO

Here's the link .

And for you Denverites, RMFW has a May program you might find of interest.

What: The Final Edit - An RMFW One Day Workshop

When: 9:00am, Saturday May 22, 2010

Who: Charlotte Cook, acquisition editor, KOMENAR Publishing

Where: Renaissance Denver Hotel, 3801 Quebec St.

Cost: $55 if you're registered by 5/15/10 - What a deal!!!!

Morning: Polishing Opening Pages

As an acquisition editor, Charlotte Cook of KOMENAR Publishing will look
over and comment on opening pages (one to four in standard manuscript
formatting) or query letters (similarly formatted) from participants. She
will offer advice on presentation and content, as well as make editing
suggestions that will polish those pages or letters. Time should allow for
ten or so people to have first-hand opportunity to present their work ...
though it's been Charlotte's experience that those without material often
find the event more fun, not having their work in the spotlight. Please
bring a dozen copies to be shared among participants and one for Charlotte.

Afternoon: The Final Edit

Delve into the real differences between developing a manuscript to
completion and polishing the manuscript for an audience of agents and
publishers. This practical, interactive and entertaining workshop covers
drafts, editors and the best advice from the right people at the right time.

RMFW will provide a continental breakfast and a box lunch. The hotel has
graciously agreed to offer attendees a special rate of $99 a night for
rooms. Attendance will be limited. To reserve your place register on our new
website via Paypal or send a check to Vicki Law, Rocky Mountain Fiction
Writers, 18 Poplar St., Montrose, CO 81401. For more information, contact
Vicki at (970) 497-6452.

And one more thing. Cindi Myers writes a very good market newsletter for writers. Check her out here .

My talented friend and web designer Jay Salam and I have begun revamping my website. I'll let you know when you can take a peek. I'll appreciate your comments.

See you next week...and let me know how you plan to spend YOUR weekend!
Sunday, May 09, 2010
  Happy Mother's Day, King of the Chicanos, zombies, and crazy love.

Mario here,

Wishing the best to all you moms out there.

King of the Chicanos, the newest novel from fellow mystery writer Manuel Ramos, will be showcased at a signing, May 20, at the Colfax Tattered Cover.  The story is set against the backdrop of Chicano activism in the 1960s.  What drives the protagonist--pride, charisma, arrogance--fuels both his rise to power and fall from grace. 

And earlier that week, on Tuesday, May 18, 
7-9pm, I'll be hosting a party celebrating the debut of my comic book series, with Issue #1 of Killing the Cobra, Chinatown Trollop.  At the Goosetown Tavern, 3242 Colfax, Denver.  Music by Matthew Lee Rose and Erin Stewart of the Castle Rock Orchestra.

The party will include examples of Survival Kits from InCaseOfAttack.com because... the Zombie Apocalypse could happen at anytime!

And of course, though he's gotten major press from WESTWORD, I have to mention Paolo Bacigalupi, and trumpet the success of his novel, The Windup Girl, named by Time as one of the best novels of 2009.  I've known Paolo for several years, having met years ago at MileHi Con.  He's one of the brightest guys I know though I kid him about gassing on at length about anything.  What I like about the Westword article is that it details his struggles to get published and how he doggedly prevailed against rejection and frustration.  I know how iffy and uncertain this publishing biz can be so I congratulate him. (photo from Westword)

And completely off topic, is an update on one of my favorite stories, that of disgraced astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak, she of the diaper-wearing, pepper spray infamy.  She received probation from civilian court and her future now depends on the judgement of a military court.  For an interesting perspective read Good Blog Stay, Lethal Females: Their Trials and Tribulation. What fascinates me about her story is how love and infatuation can completely screw with your head, for good and bad.  Like I've never been there.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
  The sweetest soul...

It’s been five years since my mom passed away. The last few years of her life, she was pretty much housebound. She worked puzzles and did crosswords and crocheted. But every afternoon, the television went on. The Guiding Light was her favorite soap and I do believe she came to think of the characters as extended family.

Photo Credit: Perez Hilton.com

When I saw this week that the actress who played Nancy Hughes, Helen Wagner, died, I was instantly transported back to the afternoons when I sat with her laughing, grumbling, clucking our tongues at the stupid, exasperating, often inexplicable antics of the Hughes family. For fifty-four years The Guiding Light provided excitement, romance, adventure and escape to my mom and her friends. Just like the characters in a good book, the characters in The Guiding Light took on lives of their own. They became real.

My mom had the sweetest soul of anyone I ever knew. I was with her at the end and although I don’t have her unshakable faith, I know she went peacefully because she was a believer. Now I can imagine she and Nancy Hughes and Bert Bauer and the villain everyone loved to hate, Alan Spaulding, sitting together over a cup of tea, discussing the crazy things their kids did, both the real and the on-screen ones, and comparing life in Springfield and El Cajon.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom

Monday, May 03, 2010
  Delta gets you there... eventually!

Mario here:

Jeanne and I are back from RT 2010.  What a time!

But first, late post because my flight from Columbus missed the connection at Cincinnati and I had to spend the night in beautiful Erlander KY.  Fortunately I found a bar across the street and diluted my consternation with scotch (served in cheapy plastic cups).

Now on to RT.

WOW!  Most of the Leaguers with there, along with honorary members who joined us to help rid Columbus of excess vodka, wine, and scotch.  Which we replaced with copious loads of snark.
Our plan to slather on the snark included our epic and infamous RT 2010 Passport.  To be a collectors item for sure because of all the scribbled smut and crude drawings that defiled the photos of our fellow Leaguers.  I think Jeanne started the trend.  Or Mark Henry.

New Leaguers were welcomed with a hug as Jeanne did with Carolyn Crane.

Diana Rowland brought along her creepy zombie-complexion doll, which gave shivers to both the drunk and sober!  Diana played neglectful lush mommy with a convincing touch.

Richelle Mead donned a white wig and served on the illustrious Faery Court (sans wings as the butterfly woman to her right)

Honorary Leaguers, Lori Armstrong, Juliet Blackwell, and Rachel Herron, coming up for air after inhaling cocktails in the hotel bar.

A lot of the conference action happened away from the hotel.  Lori and Rachel entertained us with woman-on-woman hijinks on the pool table at the Char Bar.

The Book Fair swallowed us whole with its ginormous awesomeness.

But the perigee of League shenanigans was no doubt, the Rock Band Party/ Public reading of erotica.

Mark Henry emceed the performance, a dramatic reading of steamy excerpts.  Among the choice words: veiny, quim, and cods (<-WTF?)  A classic historical romance.

Sophie Littlefield's A Bad Day for Sorry won the RT Award for Best Mystery (and was nominated for an Edgar.)

Finally, sad news.  Lori Armstrong shared the news that the First Offenders Blog is no more.  Pay one last visit and leave a comment.

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