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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Winners!!!!

Yay! Who doesn't love winning a contest? I know that I do.

I'm preceding this with saying if you've won, you need to respond within 72 hours to claim your prizes. My email addy is hocking_amanda@hotmail.com, which is the way you'll prolly wanna go cause I need shipping info. 
 
The three winners of these lovely pins

Rachel Lees

Susan

Leigh Ann

And the winner of the grand prize, paperback copies of the first three books in the series:



Ronnell D. Porter!

So congratulations to you all!

I've also had a very, very excellent release day on Flutter, and I want to thank all of you for support! 

And for those of you that didn't win, don't fret! I plan on having more giveaways in the future. ;)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Early Launch - Flutter is OUT!!!!!

Amazon, in its infinite trickery, has published my book today! So yes, its more than a day early, but let's get this launch party going! 

I posted the first chapter and links to buy Flutter under the My Books tab, but they're also right here: Kindle and paperback. (Amazon eventually links them together, but it takes like a month or so.) 

The giveaway is still going until midnight on Friday the 28th, so enter while you have a chance!!! I'll most likely be doing the drawing somewhere around one or two in the morning, because that is how I roll. 

I can't edit the product description yet or add any real info yet, but you can find all that on the My Books tab if you're not already familiar. 

Anyway - if you're one of the people that have already bought it, I'd enjoy it you left a review - be it positive, negative, whatever, as long as its honest. If you hate Flutter or any of my books, don't be afraid to tell me so.

And if you like my books, please tell everyone! It's hard to get the word out about them without a real marketing department, but word-of-mouth can really, really do a lot. That's how I found out about Greyson Chance, after all. 

(Cause the song is so insanely awesome, I'm posting it again: )

I'm supposed to be cleaning my office, but these recent developments have gotten me sidetracked.


So that's what my office looks like. (If you look closely, you can see copies of Slaughterhouse-Five, Glamorama, The Killing Joke, Shadow Kiss, Crime and Punishment, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and what's that? A battered copy of the first print of My Blood Approves.)

so... what's next?

It's less than 48 hours to enter the giveaway. So if you want three free books or a couple sexy pins, you should enter while you still can.

So, the page for Flutter is live on Amazon, but it's unavailable until Saturday. (Or at least that's my understanding of the process). 

But as this contest draws to a close, I find myself wondering, what's next?

Well, lots of things actually. I have some interviews, reviews, and giveaways lined up on other blogs (more info will come as it gets closer.)

I'm going to be doing a giveaway for Richelle Mead's epically awesome Spirit Bound because I magically have an extra copy. This will happen sometime late June, but I haven't set a date yet.

Also, my assistant will be having a giveaway for Fefe Dobson's latest CD and a copy of Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn in mid-June (exact date to come later).

In July, it's my birthday, and since ebooks have been so, so good to me, I'm going to have a giveaway for a bunch of ecopies of all three of my books.

In August, I have the release in the fourth book in the series, Wisdom, and a book signing on August 28th. (Egads!)

By the end of the year, I plan on releasing at least one more book in a different series (possibly two, if I can push it). So far, by the looks of it, it's going to be Honalee, but you can vote in the poll if you want to see something different.

So while Flutter may be coming out this Saturday, I still have a busy summer ahead of me.

And once again, I want to thank everyone for their support in this. You've all been amazing, and it thrills me every single time I hear someone enjoys my books.

But if you do enjoy my books, I encourage you to spread the word about them. To your friends, family, neighbors, strangers on the Amazon forums or Goodreads or Kindleboards and Twitter. That way it'll make it easier for me to wrote books, that you'll hopefully enjoy.

Or at the very least, I can afford to give away more stuff!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

a random string of thoughts puncuated by a giveaway and Sheri Moon

Sorry for my absence. I had a long wonderful weekend (where I went canoeing and watched Flash Gordon). It's currently about 110 degrees in my office, so trust me when I say I'm suffering to write this for you.

It's less than 36 hours until the giveaway ends and the winner is picked. You get all three books in the series, including Flutter, which comes out this Saturday!!!

For any of you that do buy a paperback copy, if you want, you can send it to me and I'll autograph it. Just for fun. (Buy paperbacks of My Blood Approves and Fate.)

Also, I do have a poll so you can vote on what book you want me to publish next. The fourth book in the My Blood Approves series will be out in August 2010, but I'm planning on publishing another book in September or October, and I want to know what you all would like to read the most.

For today's fun fact about the series: I just realized the other day that Violet (introduced to you in Fate) has Sheri Moon's laugh. But it was one of those things I didn't do on purpose. Only in retrospect. I heard her laugh, and I was like "That's it! Exactly!"

(Sheri Moon is the wife of Rob Zombie. I'm a secret White Zombie fan, but come on, More Human Than Human is brilliant. And it's based on Blade Runner! So cool!)

I just learned that Rob Zombie is a vegetarian, which seems odd, but helps embolden my current decision to become one. I haven't eaten meat in 2 days, and so far, it's going well. 

Anyway - I tried to find a clip of Sheri Moon laughing, but they were all from House of 1000 Corpses and featured horrendous things, so... you'll just have to take my word for it. Or get rent something Rob Zombie directed. 

For my big plans the rest of this week, other than promoting my soon-to-be-hit novel Flutter, I'm going to force my assistant to watch Jaws: The Revenge because it's the worst film ever made (and stars Michael Caine - gasp!).

Friday, May 21, 2010

you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

If I haven't expressed my undying love for e e cummings lately, I apologize. He's amazing. 

I've added some more stuff to my blog, including a short story, some e e cummings stuff, a poll (which you should answer), and links to excerpts of the books.

On Tuesday next week, as a teaser, I'm going to put up the first chapter of Flutter. 

 Until then,  I'll just leave you with some fun facts: The fight at the end of Flutter was originally meant to take place at First Ave, the most magical place in Minneapolis (well... magical's not the right word. But Purple Rain was filmed there.) 

But I discovered this book War of the Oaks by Emma Bull has their big end brawl take place at First Ave. Its about musicians, faeries, and set in the 1980's, and I haven't read it yet, which is completely shameful. But I really will. Honest.

The moral of the story is: its already been done, so I switched the location. If you wanna know where, you'll have to read the book. (But the where isn't nearly as exciting as the who and why, if you ask me.)

If you haven't entered the giveaway yet, you should! Only 8 days left until it closes and Flutter comes out! (If you commented on any my blogs saying you wanted to be entered, then you have been entered :) ).

And as an added bonus (or as a sign of my obsession) I'm posting the clip of Heath Ledger reading e e cummings. It's sooo lovely. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nice Girls Don't Bite


Today I've got a fun interview with an author, but before that, I'm reminding you that give away is still going on, with only 9 days left, so be sure to enter and tell your friends, if you haven't already!

Joan Sween was kind enough to an interview with me the other day. She's the author of the campy Nice Girls Don't Bite about a pair of middle-aged antique dealers who accidentally become vampires.

Can you tell me about a little bit about yourself your writing?
I have written many different types throughout my life, but currently I am a published humor columnist and an unpublished novelist. Formerly I wrote "Bittersweet" for the ROCHESTER POST-BULLETIN. Currently I write "Dealers Choice" for Minnesota's antiques newspaper, THE OLD TIMES. I have a mystery novel in the trunk, ONE MINUTE TILL DEATH. I have a cozy paranormal mystery, NICE GIRLS DON'T BITE, that I am currently querying agents about. I am halfway through a horror/haunting novel titled SLEEPER, and a mystery/thriller with a working title of DEATHBLOW.

What’s your favorite thing about writing paranormal?
Paranormal is appealing to me as a writer because it expands the "what if" seed of creativity into anything one can imagine.

How did you become interested in writing?
I became interested in writing in first grade when I found the Dick And Jane books unbelievably tedious. I started inventing my own plots to make things more interesting. My first acknowledged work was a puppet play I wrote in fourth grade which was produced at Lake School in Milwaukee. 

You also lead a group of writers in SE Minnesota. Do you want to tell me a bit about that?
I have founded Minnesota Writers' Alliance, a nonprofit corporation, which strives to link writers of all kinds in the 11 counties of southeastern Minnesota. It's not a membership organization; there is nothing to "join." To receive ongoing information of interest to writers, people only need to send me their email address.

What’s your favorite book you’ve read in the last year (other than yours, of course)? 
My favorite book in the past year would be P. J. Tracy's MONKEYWRENCH.

If you picked a soundtrack for your book, what songs would be on it? 
I haven't considered soundtracks for any of my books. Probably something classical. You know in the movie DIEHARD 2, when the big jumbo jets are finally able to land, and they bring them in to Sibelius' "Finlandia?” That absolutely gives me goosebumps it's so good.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your free time? 
I write throughout the day. In the evening I relax by creating two-dimensional paintings and three-dimensional found object sculptures while watching crime-solving programs on TV. Every now and then I am obliged to do a lick of housework. 

When you were a kid, what monster scared you most? 
When I was a kid, wolves scared me the most. Our old house had a ghost. I would see him often, but he was benign and not frightening. Wolves, however, swarmed in my nightmares and stared in my windows with glowing eyes. 

Dogs or cats? Cats.

Do you have any upcoming novels you’d like to talk about?
Check out NICE GIRLS DON'T BITE (www.joansween.com) It made it through the first cut of the Amazon/Penguin Breakout Novel Competition, but was torpedoed at the second cut. The judges criticized it because it was broad-humored and campy.Yup, that's exactly right.

only 10 more days!!!

First, I'd like to know if anybody has trouble commenting on the blog? Adrienne from An Addicted Book Reader gave me a heads up that she was having issues with being able to comment on the blog. I spent an hour tweaking things, and I'm hoping things have been fixed.

But if you're having issues with comments and/or want to be entered in the giveaway but haven't been able to comment, please email: hocking_amanda@hotmail.com.

Also, if anyone has noticed the issues and knows how to correct them, please email me and let me know. I like it when things are fixed.

In the process of trying to fixing the comment thing, I finally figured out that I can add a My Books and About Me tab. The My Books tab is particularly exciting for me because you can find out the info on the books I have published and where to buy him. Which is fun.

In more fun news - tomorrow I'm going to post the interview I did with Joan Sween, author of Nice Girls Don't Bite.

And for your Flutter sneak peak in the ongoing countdown (only 10 more days!), I made a word cloud of the book. A site took the most commonly used words in Flutter. The more I use the word, the bigger it is. So you can get an idea of what kinds of things that happen the most: (If you click on it, the picture pops out bigger, so you can actually read it.)

Wordle: Flutter
And don't forget to enter the giveaway for 3 free books & other swag!





Monday, May 17, 2010

check out the soundtrack

So, because of some confusion with the giveaway, I'm clarifying one point: 

#2. To enter: Simply comment on this blog, saying that you want to be entered in for the give away. If you have read the series, please also say your favorite character(s). If you haven't read it, I'm not holding it against you, and still free to enter. :)

In fact, I strongly encourage you to enter if you haven't read the books!! 

For more information on the giveaway and what you can win, please see my last post. And remember, it goes until May 29th, and if you have a friend enter, you earn a BONUS entry for yourself! Spread the word, yo!

Also, later on this week or possibly early next week, I'll post an interview with another author. (Me interviewing - them interviewee.) But you should definitely check it out, and I'll keep you posted on the details.  

For Flutter fun facts, I'm posting the soundtrack to it (or at least the one I would make for it, if it were a film, and I got to have control over that sort of thing).

1. Robert Palmer - "Addicted to Love"
2. Oingo Boingo - "Stay"
3. Flaming Lips - "Can't Get You Outta My Head"
4. Peter Bjorn & John - "Nothing to Worry About"
5. Panic! at the Disco - "Lying is the Most Fun"
6. Keane - "With or Without You"
7. Shiny Toy Guns - "Major Tom"
8. Lady Gaga - "Paparazzi" (although Greyson Chance does a better version)
9. Imogen Heap - "The Walk"
10. Bats For Lashes - "What's a Girl to Do?"
11. Rogue Wave - "Maps"
12. Passion Pit - "Moth Wings"
13. The Matches - "Barber's Unhappiness"
14. blink 182 - "Lost Without You"
15. Foo Fighters - "Tired of You"
16. Rachel Sage - "Vertigo"
17. Billy Corgan ft. Robert Smith - "ToLoveSomebody"

Okay, it's a little long for a soundtrack, but I couldn't cut it down any shorter. Really. Also, you can tell my immense love of covers by the amount I have on there. (Four, not counting my plug for Greyson Chance.)

But I also think the soundtrack tells a story that goes along with Flutter. Honest. 


If my soundtrack seems a little pretentious and indie to you, I've noticed that myself. It should be noted that the CD's in my 6-disc-changer in my car are: blink 182, Fallout Boy, Cobra Starship, Lonely Island, Motion City Soundtrack, and Lady Gaga. So I guess I'm only pretentious when I'm writing. 

And don't forget to enter for the giveaway if you haven't yet! 
 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Giveaway underway!


I work a total of 32 hours this weekend, so I'm making this brief: 

To promote the release of the third book in my series Flutter on May 29th, I'm running a giveaway!  Before I explain what you win, I'll tell you the rules:

1. The giveaway runs from Sunday, May 16th until Friday, May 28th at Midnight, with the winner announced on Saturday, May 29th. 

2. To enter: Simply comment on this blog, saying that you want to be entered in for the give away. If you have read the series, please also say your favorite character(s). If you haven't read it, I'm not holding it against you, and still free to enter. :) In fact, I strongly encourage you to enter if you haven't read the books!!  
 
3. Only one entry per person, BUT you can earn ONE bonus entry if you tell a friend about my books and have them enter in the giveaway. To confirm that you sent a friend, the should say their favorite character (if they've read the books - if not, that's fine), and have them say you sent them. (i.e. "I want to be entered in the giveaway and Jane Smith sent me.")

4. The winner will be contacted on Saturday, May 29th to arrange shipping.

Three runner-ups will win one of each of the following:


One Jack pin


One Peter pin





And the grand prize will one paperback copy of each the first three books in the series:

P.S. The bookmarks didn't turn out right, so I'll try to correct them & have them in another giveaway later on.

So there you have it! I hope you all enter!

Also, the great Jim Henson passed away 20 years ago today. To commemorate the loss & to celebrate his life, I'm posting this lovely video from his tribute:


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Coffee Time review, Flash Gordon, and a gigantic Thank You!!

The good people at Coffee Time Romance & More reviewed my book. They actually did it incredibly quickly too, so I'm giving them double props there. You can read the whole review: here. (And you should. They have lots of other reviews and info on tons of other good books. So if you're looking for ideas of what to read next, they've got some ideas for you.)

But here is a brief highlight: "Amanda Hocking spins a unique and entrancing paranormal tale. The compelling characters jump off the page - I loved Milo and Peter... There are some grammatical errors in this work, and overall the story could use some tightening, but I could not stop reading it. I actually read it in one sitting. I am looking forward to seeing how this young author's writing improves and matures with her next offering."

So that's fun and exciting. 

Just now, I got major ADD because I know Spirit Bound will be shipping out in a few days, so I thought, "Hey, why not take advantage of Amazon's Super Saver shipping and add a few things?" So I got Flash Gordon (Saviour Of The Universe Edition) which is about time, I know, and a graphic novel about poisonous plants called The Poison Diaries.

So now that I'm back to the blog and talking about relevant things, I just have 2 more things to add:
1) The giveaway starts Sunday, so I'm going to be doings fun things on the blog every day the next two weeks until Flutter's release and give inside scoops about the series. (I also plan on doing a in-depth review of Spirit Bound. And probably Flash).

2) I want to thank every single one of you for all your support. The response to My Blood Approves has been immensely positive, and I truly appreciate all your comments and feedback. And to those of you that took a risk on unknown author and bought my book, I can't thank you enough. I know it only costs a buck, but it means a lot to me.

:)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Flutter info, an interview, and Vampire Academy

As promised, I come bearing the description for Flutter. But since some of the people reading this might not have read the first book and it contains a spoiler (sorta), I'm blacking it out, and if you highlight the text, you'll be able to read it. 


"Being undead doesn't make life any easier for Alice.

Her younger brother's love life is heating up, while hers is... more complicated. Mae is falling apart, her best friend Jane is addicted to vampire bites, and if Alice doesn't get her bloodlust under control, someone will end up dead.

Alice volunteers for a rescue mission with Ezra. But going up against a pack of rabid vampires might be too much, even for him."

In other news, I did a bloggerview at this nice fellow Kipp Poe Speicher's blog yesterday. It's not too exciting, but you can check it out: here. He also interviewed a few other authors, and they had some interesting things to say.

In news not about me, I just saw the trailer for Richelle Mead's Spirit Bound - Vampire Academy Book 5. Let me say that I love her books, and I'm crazy excited for the new book (only 5 more days!!!), but I'm not sure how I feel about the trailer at all. Here's the link for it: here (along with a nice interview she did with EW).

And if you've seen it, can you tell me who the guy is supposed to be? Dimitri? Adrian? And that's not at all how I pictured Rose, sounding/looking all Gossip Girl. Don't get me wrong. I love Gossip Girl. But that's not my Rose Hathway. (Yes, I did just refer to her as mine. Deal.)

On that note, I'm calling Team Adrian once again. What team are you on in Vampire Academy? 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

giveaway details announced!

To promote the release of the third book in my series Flutter on May 29th, I'm running a giveaway!  Before I explain what you win, I'll tell you the rules:

1. The giveaway runs from Sunday, May 16th until Friday, May 28th at Midnight, with the winner announced on Saturday, May 29th. 

2. To enter: Simply comment on this blog, saying your favorite character in the books and that you want to be entered in for the give away.

3. Only one entry per person, BUT you can earn ONE bonus entry if you tell a friend about my books and have them enter in the giveaway. To confirm that you sent a friend, the should say their favorite character (if they've read the books - if not, that's fine), and have them say you sent them. (i.e. "I want to be entered in the giveaway and Jane Smith sent me.")

4. The winner will be contacted on Saturday, May 29th to arrange shipping.

Three runner-ups will win one of each of the following:


One Jack pin



One Peter pin


One My Blood Approves bookmark



And the grand prize will one paperback copy of each the first three books in the series:




So there you have it. But the contest isn't starting until May 16th, because I've been told that you shouldn't run contests longer than 2 weeks, and I want it to end right before the book is released. 

If you have any other questions or comments, feel free to let me know!

Tomorrow, I'll be posting the back cover description for Flutter. ;)

Monday, May 10, 2010

my heart is beating like a hammer

So, I've been thinking and a made a few decisions.

For my giveaway, I'm going to give away one paperback set of My Blood Approves books 1-3. I'm also getting a buttons and bookmarks, so a few runner ups can get them. 
Here are the button designs:

And here is what the bookmark looks like:


  

I haven't figured out the complete details of the contest yet, but I'll know soon!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

we're not unreasonable; I mean, no one's gonna eat your eyes

My brain just shut off. I could feel it. One moment, I was fine, and then it was like a switch. My brain is off. And I have Jonathan Coultan's "Re: Your Brains" stuck in my head, so its not all bad.

Apparently, my total lack of sleep is turning me into a zombie.

But I just wanted to ask a quick question before I watch Vampire Diaries and then go off to eat your brains. I mentioned earlier today that I planned on giving promotional items away in conjunction with the release of Flutter at the end of this month. 

And my question is: What kind of stuff would you like? My beloved roommate Eric suggested Fefe Dobson CD's, but I'm putting that as a plan B right now.



Paperback copies of the books are the most obvious choice. But if I do that, should it be books 1-3? Or Just the 3rd one? Do you want them autographed? I mean, I don't really feel like my autograph is a valuable commodity, but that's mostly because its horrible. 


What about bookmarks? Collages? I do make really lame collages, and I could make one as a prize, if anybody would want it that wasn't me. Um... what else? 


Eric also suggested what Perez Hilton did: Any person who bought his book could send it to me him and he would autograph and decorate their book and send it back.


I won't even make that a prize. If you ever buy any of my books in paperback, send it to me, and I'll autograph it and decorate it and write you a poem in silver sharpie. I mean, if you'd like that, I'll do it. 


So anyway - what kind of stuff would like you to win in celebration of Flutter?

Gary Busey is the only person I know that's less photogenic than me

This blog title is misleading because I don't know Gary Busey. It should be "know of." But I'm leaving it. I'm hoping to entice you with misinformation.

But here's some accurate information, along with the explanation of the title: The Rochester Post Bulletin ran an article about me yesterday. Egads! I'm famous! (not really)

But it is a good article (and a not-so-good photo - I look terrified or pissed off or sad). The next photo op I have, I'm making my good friend Hannah do it and take good pictures. So I look happy and normal and less serial-killer-y.

Anyway - the article is good. But I felt uncomfortable talking about my book. I never felt like modesty was my strong suit, but I don't like anything that sounds like bragging. And going, "I wrote this and its so great and look what I can do" feels so... wrong. 

So I spent the majority of the interview rambling about things. I also mentioned Red Bull. A lot. But this is all part of my plan to get a free lifetime supply of Red Bull. I will succeed in this endeavor. 

I also mentioned (but it didn't make it to print) the obscene amount of support I get from my friends. I honestly don't anyone that has a group of friends as tightnit as we are, and without the Clique, I definitely don't think I'd have the confidance to do this and try things I could fail it.


Not that I'm a success yet, but... in a way, trying in of itself is a success for me. 


So. There you have it. That's the news on my first big news story. 


Also - after searching a few blogs, I've decided to have a big send up for the release of Flutter - including giveaways! Yes! Free thing(s)! And news! I'll probably doing a blog tour at the end of May/beginning of June, but the details on that are still a tad sketchy. So... we'll wait and see.


I am arbitrarily picking May 29th as the release date for Flutter! (This is slightly subject to change because I can't guarantee when Kindle have uploaded.  But the 29th will be the big "party" and the absolute latest day the book will be up.)

(And My Blood Approves and Fate are still both $.99 for Kindle!)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

the lovers, the dreamers, and me

The feature in the paper about me will be printed today, but it hasn't happened yet, so I'll talk more about that later.

What I've decided to talk about, instead, is what I'm passionate about: Muppets. 


I've just been getting a lot of Muppet news lately, which excites me to no end. (Click the links for details.)

May 16th will mark the 20 year anniversary of Jim Henson's passing. His legacy is amazing and brilliant. With puppets and imagination and a real understanding of wonder and magic, he's gone onto to inspire generations of people, and I'm sure he will for generations after. 

If you're wondering how this ties into my writing, I'll tell you how: I can't think of any other person that had such a profound effect on my ability to imagine, dream, and tell stories. When I was young, all my stories were basically fanfaction to the works of Jim Henson.

(The only one I remember vividly involved a British princess named Isabella going through a labyrinth and something with a unicorn and David Bowie.)


Jim Henson continues to inspire me today. Vampires may not seem a direct relation to him, but urban fantasy is, and I've written about a lot more than vampires.


More than that, he is the direct motive for me finally publishing my books and working so hard on this.


In October, the Jim Henson exhibit filled with Muppets, props, and everything Henson will be in Chicago - the closest it comes to where I live. I need to save up money to go, and I'm hoping that I'll make enough money over the summer (in conjunction with my full-time job working with people with disabilities). 


So, here's to you, Jim Henson: For teaching to me dream when I was a kid, and inspiring me to reach for my dreams as an adult.

Monday, May 3, 2010

you have no time to reconcile me

When I was an avid Myspace blogger (and before that, an avid Xanga blogger), my titles were always song lyrics. I missed that, so I'm bringing it back. (Today's lyrics are from People In Planes "If You Talk Too Much.")

I was just now reading my old Myspace blogs from January of 2009, and I found some interesting facts that pertain to My Blood Approves. Here they are: 
"If you're wondering what said book is about, I will tell you this: I wrote a book about my favorite things. So here a list of things that are directly referenced or vaguely based on:

-Minneapolis (it's like magic to me)
-my grandma (she's pretty fancy)
-Heath Ledger (is subtly referenced about a million times)
-turrets (not tourette's)
-fancy, fancy cars (I could've written a book on just them)
-Laundromats (there's just something about them)
-Mystery Science Theater 3000 (take it)
-The Lost Boys (twice)
-gay people (they are my people)
-e e cummings (his blood approves)
-big dogs (once tragically... we'll see how that goes)
-Cherry & Spoonbridge (it's iconic)
-Mark Hoppus (he's my muse, right?)
-and lots more!

Also, fun fact: All the characters are named after people, mostly other fictional characters filled with whimsy. Alice (Alice in Wonderland), Peter (Peter Pan), Jack (Jack from the hit film Legend), Milo (Milo & Otis), Mae (my grandma - Patricia May), and Ezra (Ezra Pound). I wanted the book to have a modern fairy tale-ness to it. I don't think it is. I think it has a... me feel to it, tho. "

All the stuff is true. But I'd like to point out two things: Alice and Jane are also named after Natalie Portman's character in Closer, and Ezra Pound is not whimsical. I like some of his poetry, but I'm pretty sure he's antisemitic. And if there's one thing I know for sure about antisemitism, its that's not filled with whimsy.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

birds flying high, you know how I feel...

I'm gonna start off by saying that everyone should listen to Nina Simone's "Feeling Good" if they haven't. If you go and do it now, you can come back and read this and listen to it, the way I am now. It's an amazing song. (There's a reason Mae listens to a lot of Nina Simone in my books.)

So, the other day a woman reviewed My Blood Approves on Amazon, and she gave it three stars, but I love the review. I think its really honest and accurate and describes all the pitfalls and high points of my writing and the book itself (without giving away key plot points.) You can (and should) read the full review here: review.

The one point I'd like to discuss (although not necessarily disagree with) is this: 

"I don't think anyone could get through the first scene with Jack, let alone the second, let alone looking at the cover, let alone the title, without knowing Jack's big secret. I'm not sure it's to Alice's credit that she doesn't get it for half the book, but she makes a guess much earlier that would be in the old hot-cold game pretty warm. There were just too many clues. I think the reason it still worked is what wasn't revealed. There were still enough details and blanks to be filled in that, even with the various flaws, I kept hitting next page on my Kindle. I think that's the important thing - that I had issues with the story, almost quite fairly early on, but just had to see what happened next. Amanda kept pulling me back in and that's a mark of talent. "

(Full disclosure: I didn't need that whole quote to make my point. I just left the last few sentences along with it cause they're really nice and I like sharing nice things.)

It's the first few sentences that I need to expound on, and I'm wondering if I need to take some for of corrective action.
She's absolutely right, and I expected it to be that way. The big secret is - Jack's a vampire. I knew that by, at the very least, the end of the first chapter, people would know he was a vampire. And that's fine. 

The mystery isn't in Alice figuring out what exactly Jack is, but I wanted his "secret" to be laid out and digested as realistically as possible. If I met a guy, no matter how cute and charasmiatic and wonderful he was, and he told me he was a vampire without first providing evidence, I'd think  he was crazy. And even if he immediately provided evidence, I'd be creeped and think he would eat me.

I wanted them to build a relationship, build trust, fondness, because I wanted it to seem realistic as possible. (Yes, realism is something I strive for when writing about vampires. I understand the irony.)

But since we, the audience, are aware of this almost immediately, does it make Alice look like an idiot? Are we left like a horror movie audience, yelling at the screen, "No, don't go outside you idiot?"

I don't think Alice is an idiot and I certainly don't want you to think that. And more importantly, I don't want her ... "naivety" about vampires to slow the story down. I don't want a reader going, "Yeah, we get it. He's a bloodsucker. When the hell is she gonna figure it out?"

Here is my conundrum: How do I fix that problem? I don't plan on changing the story itself, at least not in a discernible way. There is a reason Jack waits so long to tell her (and the answer to that is waiting way off in book 5).

But perhaps its my marketing? The last sentence in the description is as follows: "But falling for two very different guys isn't even the worst of her problems. Jack's family holds a secret, one that threatens Alice with mortal danger..."

It implies that the "secret" is being a vampire, and it's deduced nearly on page one (if not the instant you pick you the book.) So, it throws off the expectation somewhat.

If I wrote the description differently, ending it with something like "But falling for two very different guys isn't even the worst of her problems. Jack and Peter are vampires, and Alice finds herself caught between love and her own blood." Or something? I just threw that together so its not perfect.

But do you see what I mean? So then, I'm at least saying that I, the author, know you know, and even if Alice doesn't figure it out, I know you're not an idiot. Would that reflect better both on the book and Alice?

Or would the first half of the book require a major overhaul? I'm not sure if I'm prepared to do that or not, but I'm looking for your opinions on this.