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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review of Glimpse

I should start off by saying I'm a bad person. Well, maybe not a bad person - just a bad reviewer. It's easier for me to write a 100k word novel than it is a simple review - even on a book I really enjoyed. I stress over it. I fuss over. I decide everything is too generic, then I decide I'm giving away too much. So that's why I'm a bit late on my review of Stacey Wallace Benefiel's Glimpse

Before I begin, here's the description of Glimpse (stolen from Amazon): 
Zellie Wells has a devastating crush on Avery Adams, the son of her mom’s high school sweetheart. At her sixteenth birthday party, held in the basement of her dad’s church, she finally finds the courage to talk to him. Turns out, the devastating crush is mutual.

As Avery takes her hand and leads her out onto the makeshift dance floor, Zellie is overwhelmed by her first vision of his death; shocking because not only are they both covered in his blood, but they’re old, like 35, and she is pregnant.

Afraid to tell anyone about the vision, (she’d just be labeled a freaky black magic witch, right?) Zellie keeps the knowledge of Avery’s future to herself and tries to act like any other teenager in love. When they get caught on their way to a secret rendezvous by her mom and his dad, they are forbidden to see each other.

Convinced that their parents are freaking out unnecessarily, Avery and Zellie vow to be together no matter what. They continue their relationship in secret until Zellie learns that their parents are just trying to prevent her and Avery from suffering like they did. The visions are hereditary, they’re dangerous, and if they stay together the visions will come true.

Now Zellie must choose between severing all ties with Avery, like her mom did to prevent his father’s death, and finding a way to change Avery’s future.

The thing that struck me the most about her book was the voice - it was perfect. Zellie always sounded like a teenager without being whiny or obnoxious. She was very likable and very realistic. 

The story flowed beautifully. I think with a lot of debut novels, the biggest problems authors have is with flow and voice  - they just haven't figured out how to hit their stride yet. But Stacey didn't stumble with either of those. It had a real honesty with the characters that I appreciated. Zellie and Avery were wonderfully drawn characters, and I couldn't help but feel their yearning.

The paranormal aspect (which I loved) was a bit different than what I'd encountered before. I'm not going to give it away, but it wasn't what I'd expected it to be, and that's always fun. 

All in all, I'm excited to read the next books in her series, and I see tremendous promise in Stacey's writing and her future endeavors. Any fan of YA paranormal romance should definitely read this book! 

For more information, check out Glimpse at Amazon or visit Stacey's website.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Interview with Stacey Wallace Benefiel

Yesterday, I mentioned Stacey Wallace Benefiel, the super neat author of Glimpse. I'll be posting the review of the book tomorrow. But today, you get to see how she answered the questions I asked her.

1. Can you tell me about a little bit about yourself & your writing?

I am originally from the Midwest, but have lived on the West coast since 1993. I’ve always been involved in the arts-I’m a major theatre geek, I played the clarinet and oboe in band, and have always written-especially poetry and monologues. I have degrees in theatre, creative writing, culinary arts, and floral design. I also have a mountain of student loans.

2. What inspired you to write Glimpse?

Do you remember that show Roswell? My little sister and I were addicted to it. When it ended my sister challenged me to write a book in the same genre. I’d never written a novel before, but I thought it would be fun to try. I knew I wasn’t going to write about aliens, but that the main character was going to have some sort of power and it was going to mess up her relationships. I just started writing about a girl that was like I was when I was a teenager and went from there.


3. How did you choose the names for your characters?

This is going to sound very Stephenie Meyer of me, but Hazel is the name I was going to name my daughter if I ever had one. At the time I started writing Glimpse, I didn’t have any children, but decided that I couldn’t use Hazel for any future daughters anyway because Hazel was the name of the street one block over from where we live. I do have a daughter now and her name is Arlo.

Grace came from one of my college roommates. I had two tall red-headed roommates-Gracie and Anne. So, Zellie became Hazel Grace-H.G. and I figured Wells was a fine last name.

Paul is after one of my grandpa’s.

Melody goes with Zellie like Valerie (my little sister’s name) goes with Stacey.

Avery was the name of the street one of the schools I taught theatre at was on.

Claire was another contender for my daughter’s name.

Mike and Becky-Good solid names that people my age have.
Jason is after my brother-in-law.

4. If you picked a soundtrack for your book, what songs would be on it?

Each character has their own music that I like to listen to, to get into their heads. Zellie is Taylor Swift and Cobie Calliet and Kelly Clarkson. Claire is MGMT and the Pixies. Pastor Paul is the Eagles. Grace and Mike are Cyndi Lauper and Bruce Springsteen. Becky is Sondheim. Melody is Miley Cyrus. Avery secretly likes country.

That’s not really songs...I had Pandora on in the background, so it made the soundtracks for me. 

Zellie and Avery do have a song-Sweet Disposition.

5. What’s your favorite book you’ve read in the last year (other than yours, of course)?

Around the holidays I got sucked into the Outlander books. Drums of Autumn is my favorite one so far. Those books are some serious Scottish crack.

6. Vampires or zombies?

Vamps, they smell better...or not at all?

7. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your free time?


I like to hang out with my family, take the kids to the park and Children's museum, that sort of thing. I read a lot and like to watch TV. Glee, Top Chef, My Life on the D-list, and Friday Night Lights are some favorites. I stage manage and direct productions at my local community theatre. I’m also studying to be a medical transcriptionist. I take my final in July!

8. When you were a kid, what monster scared you most?

I remember after watching Jaws that I was massively scared of sharks. In Missouri. Swimming around my bed while I slept.

9. Do you have any upcoming novels you’d like to talk about?


The next book in the Zellie Wells series, Glimmer, is due to come out at the end of this year. I should be done writing it by August, then editing and formatting and all that good stuff. The final book in the ZW series, Glow will be out by next Summer. I’m also working on a stand alone contemporary romance and another YA series-novellas this time-about human sacrifices, tentatively titled, uh, Sacrifice

I'd like to thank Stacey for the interview, and for more information about her, check out her website  http://staceywb.webs.com and her blog http://staceywallacebenefiel.wordpress.com.

Buy her fabulous new book, Glimpse, from Amazon or in paperback at Createspace. And don't forget to check back tomorrow for the review. :) 
 

Monday, June 28, 2010

books - and most of them aren't mine

Hello everyone!

Here's a quick few tidbits:

Stacey Wallace Benefiel author of the young adult paranormal romance Glimpse - posted an interview with me a few days back, and I, in my silliness, forgot to mention it here. So here's a link to the interview & her review of My Blood Approves: here

(Sidenote: In response to the question "Who is your favorite literary character of all time?" I forgot to include Falstaff on my list.)

Also, on Tuesday this week I'll be posting my interview with her (wherein, I ask her questions) and the review of her book Glimpse. Hint: It's pretty awesome. 

In a related note, she's super nice and her book is really good, so if you haven't bought it - why not? Go buy it. 

Also, here's a funtastic review at Paranormal Romance Addicts. Here's a fun fact: In my comment to the review, wherein I say thanks, I spelled my own name wrong. I need an editor any time I write anything.

I was gonna post my reading-list of books I'm going to read, but it's late, I'm sweaty, and tired. So I'm just doing a quick post, and I'll go more indepth later on. 

The Weight of Blood by David Dalglish Its a high-fantasy about half-orc brothers, which I'm normally not into, but it's supposed to be dark, and David is hilarious, so I figure his books can't be bad.  


The Undying by Ronnell D. Porter The cover is fabulous, the description is way interesting, and the trailer is magical. Plus, Ronnell is fantastic, and the sample of it I already read is good. It reminds me of something, and I'm thinking that something is The Storytellers miniseries by Jim Henson (which is brilliant and underrated.) Something about the writing style of it reminds me of how the storyteller would tell the stories. 


33 A.D. by David McAfee. Vampires plot to assassinate Jesus. It's almost too awesome to be true. 


There's about a million more that I should mention and I should read, but again, I'm sweaty and tired. 


I'm also enjoy how I can find a way to plug Jim Henson no matter what it is I'm talking about.

Oh! And in one last minute vent - they're remaking Edward Scissorhands!? I watched it this weekend, thinking how it was a perfect, magical, wonderous masterpiece with the single greatest soundtrack of all time. There is NO NEED to remake perfection! 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

and now for something completely different...


It's nearly five a.m., and instead of doing anything productive, I'm trying to watch every season of Weeds. I've made it a third of the way into the third season in the past week, so I'd say pretty good at wasting time.

But for reasons that aren't clear, while I was watching Weeds, I kept getting more and more upset about the ending of Labyrinth. I'm about to Spoiler Alert if you haven't seen it, but I think that's fair, since you've had like 25 years to watch it. 

Why does Sara go back? It doesn't make any sense. Yes, David Bowie is an abusive boyfriend, and I'm not necessarily abdicating that she stay with him (even though I totally would - I am in no way a role model, people). 

But clearly, she fit in better with the Labyrinth crowd and made a buncha swell friends. Plus, that whole frickin place was magic! MAGIC! I bet they had a unicorn somewhere. Or David Bowie could get her one. And sing awesome songs.

I get the rescue Toby part. And Toby's a baby, so he should go back home. But let's send him back home, and let the Goblin King worship and love you. Or at least hang out with the fantastic British worm and Ludo and Ambrosia. And the head throwing things. 

I don't even know what the moral of the story is. Something about... I don't know. Jim Henson basically preached be kind and be silly. Those were his big morals, and the screenplay was written by Monty Python alum Terry Jones, who pretty much only preached be silly. 

So why wouldn't Sara stay in the silliest place of all? It's clearly the best place. 

Her choice to go home is completely mind boggling. It's already been made clear that her father and step-mother don't really care about her that much. I guess she has Merlin the dog, but Toby can play with him.

And she'd prefer the company of Hoggle over Jareth? (No offense, Brian Henson.) Yeah, right. I mean, I dig Hoggle, but in a battle between Hoggle and Jareth...

Whatever. It just doesn't make sense. It's clearly an incorrect ending. Like the original ending to Pretty in Pink (yeah, like Molly Ringwald would pick Duckie over Andrew McCarthy. *insert eye roll here*)

You know, my whole life is six degrees of Monty Python, but that's a story for another day. 

But right now, I'm leaving you with this lovely clip of David Bowie singing "Dance Magic Dance" from the hit film Labyrinth. And at about 2:31 seconds in this video, you'll find out why my band is called the Fraggin Aardvarks, if that fact has been keeping you awake at night. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I prefer the dark streets when I can't have the sunlight

I napped today from 7 pm until midnight because I don't know how to nap properly, but I'm finally getting tired again, so I'm about to shove off.

I just wanted to stop in and say a few things.

First, Ronnell Porter - the genius behind the glorious book trailer - wrote a lovely review of My Blood Approves on his blog, so you should check it out. My favorite part: "The first in a developing cult phenom, My Blood Approves..."

Also - I'll be posting a review of Imogen Rose's Portal tomorrow. (Hint: I liked it.)
As of right now, it's looking like I'll be releasing Switched - the first book in a new series - mid-July. Originally slated for a September release, I decided it'd be silly to wait. It's going through some final edits, then I'm trying it out on some readers, so we'll see how it goes. 

I'd love to see a July 12th release, cause it's my birthday, and I like celebrating, but we'll see how it goes. 

The working description for Switched is: "When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might've been telling the truth. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself submerged in a world she never knew existed - and she's not sure if she wants to be a part of it."

It's like Princess Diaries, but with a much harder edge and a paranormal slant. 

In good news that's not about me, it's only 13 more hours until new episodes of Futurama premiere on Comedy Central! I'm so excited!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Interview with Imogen Rose - author of Portal

Imogen Rose is the author of Portal, a sci-fi romance with time travel. It's been on the list of top 50 best rated, best selling books on Kindle, and I've read it myself, so I know its awesome. 

Here's the description (borrowed from Amazon):

"Come Find Me Two Years Ago...

Six words that propelled ice hockey playing tomboy, Arizona, into an alternate dimension.

She suddenly found herself in the past. In one moment she went from being an ice hockey playing teenager in New Jersey to a glamorous cheerleader in California. She found herself transported from a happy life with her dad, Dillard, to a new, strange one living with her mother whom she hates. Apparently it's a life she's always lived in.

Everyone knows her as Arizona Darley, but she isn't. She is Arizona Stevens.

As she struggles to find answers she is certain of one thing- that her mother Olivia, a brilliant physicist, is somehow responsible. .

PORTAL is the story of the repercussions of Olivia Darley's attempt at creating a perfect world for herself and her children. Arizona's quest for answers threatens to undermine the seemingly perfect world that her mother has so carefully constructed.
"

1.Can you tell me about a little bit about yourself and your writing?
I am very new to writing, to fiction anyway. I’m a scientist by profession, I have a PhD in Immunology and worked in London for many years (doing aneurysm research). So, I do have scientific publications behind me, but this was my first attempt at fiction. I am a dreamer, have been from a very young age. I always remember my dreams as I wake up. I decided to write this particular one down.

2.What inspired you to write Portal?
PORTAL was inspired by one of my dreams. I decided, on a whim, to write it down and my youngest daughter read it and asked, “What happens next?” That’s what spurred me on to complete the story and keep writing. My daughter kept reading everything the printer produced and was so enthusiastic that I kept going… and a novel emerged.

3. I love the line “Come Find Me Two Years Ago.” You had me hooked from there. How did you come up with it?
Now, that’s a very personal story to be shared over champagne and chocolates one day….

4.If you picked a soundtrack for your book, what songs would be on it?
This is really hard! Coming up with a soundtrack will take me longer than writing the book. After all, each track has to reflect the emotion of the scene. However, here are some suggestions from the tracks that inspired and fuelled me while I was writing the book.
To The Moon & Back (Savage Garden)
Bonfires (Blue Foundation)
Uprising (Muse)
This Time (Jonathan Rhys Meyers)
Erase (Mika)
Travel in Time (Kate Havnevik)
People are Strange (The Doors)
Heaven from Here (Robbie Williams)
Come As You Are (Nirvana)
4:AM Forever (Lostprophet)
Disenchanted Lullaby (Foo Fighters)
Pop Princess (The Click Five….. for Ella, obviously!) 

5.What’s your favorite book you’ve read in the last year (other than yours, of course)?
I re-read PERFUME by Patrick Suskind, love this book!

6. Vampires or zombies?
Vampires!

7.When you’re not writing, how do you spend your free time?
Shopping, reading, watching movies, hanging out with friends.

8. When you were a kid, what monster scared you most?
The one under my bed….

9. Do you have anything upcoming you'd like readers to know about?
I have just finished writing EQUILIBRIUM, which is Book Two of the Portal Chronicles. It’s with my editor at the moment. I have started writing Book Three, QUANTUM, which may be ready by Christmas. I am also trying to get a children’s book together, based on a story I made up for my own kids (about three elves). I am also working to get the Herm├Ęs LookBook Two out by Christmas.

Be sure to check out her wesbite, imogenrose.com, and buy her book from Amazon.com!  It's only $1.99 on Kindle!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Blood Approves Book Trailer

So I'll be honest and say that I wasn't a firm believer in book trailers. Especially after I saw the one for Richelle Mead's Spirit Bound. I wasn't sure if I ever wanted one for myself.

Then Ronnell Porter offered to do a book trailer for me, and after seeing the amazing job he did for his own book The Undying, I had to check it out. What he came up with for My Blood Approves is just fantastic. It's turned me around completely, and now I'm a big fan of the book trailer.

So, check it out:



And for fun, here's the trailer for his own book The Undying:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I have a neice! (sorta)

In my life, I've felt like I've accomplished things sometimes. I put together my desk. I painted the living room. I wrote a book. I held my breath under water for ten seconds. (You read that right. Ten seconds is an accomplishment to me.)

But here's something I've never done: Made a person.

On Wednesday, my very good friend Kalli had a baby. And not just any baby, but the cutest, chubbiest, fanciest baby to ever grace the planet. 

It's the most fascinating thing in the whole world to me. I haven't had much experience with pregnancy or babies. Not because I don't like them. They just.... weren't around me, I guess. 

But it's so hard to fathom. I know people have babies all the time, and it's not that not rare of a thing.

My mother had a baby once (me), and then spent a good deal of her life trying to have another one, but she didn't. On bad days, she'd complain of how easy it was for some people to have babies and how some people took them for granted. This made her very, very upset.  

I grew up where babies were constantly talked of and alluded to but never really existed. Since I was about five years old, both my parents have been very vocal about wanting to be grandparents. 

Since my parents were often trying to conceive a child (but never did), they bought me books at a young age to explain pregnancy and babies and all that. So I've always understood how it works. The whole baby grows in the belly thing. 

But to actually see it is totally insane. Something grew inside you, and then it's a whole other person. I don't know. It's surreal.

Other people have actually had kids, and I can't imagine what that's like. It's mind boggling. It's honestly incomprehensible to me.

And yes, I am bringing the magic miracle of Kalli's baby and my surrogate niece (I get to be an aunt by love, not blood or marriage - I win) around to my books.

Most people don't agree with Mae's reactions in Flutter, and I expected that. Some people just don't get them. They don't understand how she could be so extreme.

I grew up with a mother who wanted nothing more in the world to have babies, and she could only have one. And she loved me, still does as a matter of fact, but I saw firsthand what it's like watch someone ache for children. And it's a far different and far greater hole than I've seen any other love create.

When all you want is a child, you will cling to any last shred of having one. And there is nothing you won't do to protect them. Its been said before but nothing in the world compares to the love of a mother for her child - or grandchild. 

And why shouldn't they? Babies are the most bizarre and magical beings on earth.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fitzwiliam is an awesome name

Okay here is something people aren't saying (probably because they're not thinking it:) Fitzwilliam is an awesome name. A truly awesome name. 

In fact, my second-born son will be named Fitzwilliam. (My first born son will be named "Johnny Danger" and he will save the world.) Fitzwilliam will woo women undaunted for years, and have sonnets written about him by uniquely rebellious girls in colleges everywhere.

That whole sentiment is inspire, of course, by Jane Austen, who invented Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, forcing women to swoon over him for the next century and a half. 

I love Jane Austen, and I suspect that my assistant would love her too. Unfortunately, he can't stand period pieces. He rolls his eyes every time he catches me watching a film adaption on the TV (he rolls them particularly hard if he catches me crying). But I forced him to watch Clueless, and he admitted to enjoying it very much.

So I'm declaring him a Jane Austen fan, and an Olde English hater. Which is fine, even if it does mean that he misses the intricacies of her work, but that's his loss.

As much as I love Mr. Darcy, I've always been a Mr. Knightly fan myself. Mr. Darcy is someone you fall in love with over the course of the story. His rough edges melt away and you see the passion inside of him. Mr. Knightly is someone you've been in love with all along but you didn't realize it until just this moment. 

Maybe I prefer Mr. Knightly because I've always considered myself to be a Mr. Knightly kind of person. Mr. Darcy demands a strong reaction the moment you meet him - anger that turns into love. But Mr. Knightly... he sits with you for awhile and becomes that nagging voice in the back of your head that eventually you realize you can't live without him.

That's me right there. I seem somewhat forgettable at first, but in the end, you realize, you can't live without me.

And, if you can endure another book plug, if I had to compare my characters to Jane Austen (and I don't but I'm going to): Jack would totally be Mr. Knightly (albeit, a less... protective version - he never gives proper advice the way Knightly gives Emma), and Peter would be Mr. Darcy. 
So there you have it. If you like vampires and/or Jane Austen, why not give My Blood Approves a try?

This entire post was inspired by the brilliant Jane in June event going on at Book-Rat's blog, which I've told you about before. And based on the amount of stuff she has going on at her site, I'm convinced she doesn't sleep, and exists only to blog/read/write about Jane Austen.

Also, she posted my letter to Jane Austen (among other fancy postings by other even fancier people), and you should check it out, if you enjoy reading things I say.

Monday, June 14, 2010

don't you forget me

Here's something else I realized while watching both The Breakfast Club and Lucas today: Saying I love "bad" 80's movies is pretty redundant. No movie from the 80's good. Don't get me wrong. I love them. All of them. If it's from the 80's, I'm totally into it.

And The Breakfast Club is one of the most awesome movies of all time. (I have a movie poster of it in my office, and my ringtone on my phone is "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds.) I actually cried when John Hughes died, and then suffered incredible frustration when I spent the next week explaining to everyone who John Hughes was and why he was so friggin amazing.

But let's be honest - The Breakfast Club is so cheesy. It really is. And Lucas ends with a slow clap! It actually ends with everyone in the school looking at poor adorable Corey Haim and doing a slow clap!

I've been my whole life for a real-life slow clap moment, and I still haven't found one. I've stumbled across many moments where I clapped, and nobody else did, so it wasn't really a slow clap. It was more like a clap fumble.

But someday, I'll have a slow clap moment, and that will be the single greatest day of my life.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

sometimes, I'm a harsh critic

I just watched The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. I didn't cry. I didn't feel anything. It may be one of the worst movies I've ever seen.

I posted a review of it on Amazon (I'm working on reviewing more things). Here's what I wrote:

I wanted to like this.

I've been a fan of Gilliam's for years. I love his work on Python, and Twelve Monkeys is one of my favorite films. I even loved Baron Muchausen. So I was prepared for weird. Absurd. Outlandish.

I've also been an avid fan and ardent mourner of Heath Ledger. I knew the challenges presented to the director trying to film around scenes that were already shot and could never be added to. The death of Ledger left an absence in the screen that would be hard to correct.

What I was not prepared for was a film so disjointed, so incoherent, it scarcely had a plot.

The CGI was so terrible - particularly in the scene where Valentina is running through broken glass. I've seen better graphics in a SyFy movie.

And the Devil? I don't even know what to make of him. I'm not sure what happened in the end, and I'm sure I was supposed to be pulling for Anton, but I could care less.

That's the problem too. There was no character development whatsoever. I never cared about any of them. Not even Heath Ledger or Christopher Plummer, who I have a strong affinity for no matter what they do. To make me disinterested in the final performance of Heath, in the final images I'll ever see of him on screen, is quite a feat indeed, yet Gilliam managed to accomplish that.

On top of that, the character of Tony written for Heath does not seem to be the same character written for Colin Farrell. This is not a  discredit Colin Farrell. I feel like he did a good job with what he had, the way most of the actors seemed to do - they just had nothing to work with. Heath's version of Tony seemed to be a bit... iffy. He was clearly a con man, but he also seemed to have some redeeming qualities. Colin's character seemed random and distracted and vaguely maniacal. He also apparently sold starving kids to have their organs harvested.

Some of the film did have beautiful costume direction, and the sets - when they were sets and not cartoonishy CGI - were lovely. In a few abstracted moments, the genius behind Gilliam did show through - but most of that is already shown in previews. Watch a trailer and you'll see the best the film has to offer.

Johnny Depp and Jude Law - who are normally captivating - gave forgettable and unnecessary performances. They truly did not add anything to the film nor did they need to be in it. However, I applaud them for giving their salary to Matilda Ledger.

I ordered the film On Demand tonight, and I planned on buying it anyway, because even if I didn't like it, I felt like I ought to own the last film Heath Ledger was in it. I will not be buying this film.

In fact, I felt like its a disservice to his memory. It's unfair to put his name on this piece of garbage and have this be the last thing people remember him for.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Nothing's permanent, not even death

Tonight, I'll be watching the Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus for the first time, in which I'll turn into a blubbering mass of sadness (I'm assuming, since I cry every time I see the preview), and then proceed to tweet/facebook obsessively about the tragic loss of Heath Ledger.

I've always been fascinated by death, not in a morbid Jeffrey Dahmer sorta way, but in a I-don't-believe-its-possible way. There. I said it. I don't think death is real. I don't think I'll ever die. It's just not possible for me not to exist. It's not.

This leads to confusion and excessive mourning when people do die because I don't understand where they are. I don't understand how its possible or what happens. They can't not be here anymore. It doesn't make sense.

This especially true with celebrities. I can still their face on the screen. They can't be dead. See? There they are.

And I've been blessed with a life that's been virtually death free. I've lost one uncle, whom I wasn't very close to, and that's it. All my grandparents are still alive. My parents, aunts, cousins, brother, friends, etc. All in good health (mostly).

So, its perhaps because of that, that Heath Ledger's death has become the most traumatic event in my life. I did always enjoy him, but I can't define what exactly made it so horrendous. Even when Layne Staley died when I was 17 and crazy obsessed with Alice in Chains, it didn't effect me this harshly.

I've also always been a big River Phoenix fan. Well, not always. In fact, I've probably only enjoyed him since his death since I was 8 when he died. And in some strange obsession with that, I can't watch movies where Joaquin Phoenix dies.

In fact, I prefer to watch films where nobody dies. That's not true either. I like the Hills Have Eyes and Lost Boys and American Psycho very much.

Look - the thing is, I'm always constantly obsessing over my mortality. What it means. How it would be to live forever and how it would be die. I don't want to die and I'm not particularly afraid to - I just don't understand it.

I can't explain why Heath Ledger's death effected me so deeply. I know it's crazy. I never met him. I have nothing to miss. Everything I've always known of him still exists in the exact same form I knew of it. For me, nothing has changed at all.

But it is what it is.

And I am aware that my three favorite films - The Dark Knight, My Own Private Idaho, and The Crow - all had young, rising stars that died before their release. I did not do this on purpose, but I can't lie that didn't effect my subconscious somehow.

I also really love John Hughes and Jim Henson, but in defense of them, I loved them before they died. And I love the Culkins, who are alive. So... I don't only love dead things. I just mostly love dead things. That really puts the whole vampire thing in perspective.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why Alice doesn't find out they're vampires until halfway through the book and other news

Apparently, folks are having issues with comments again, which makes me angry faced, but I'm not sure how to fix it. If you're familiar with blogspot and understand the problem, please let me know.

Also, I'd like to thank everyone for their kind words after my last blog. I really appreciated it. It was like a giant eHug! :)

Twimom followed up my fun interview with a wonderful review on her blog, so check it out: here.

I've read lots of  reviews of my books (and thanks everybody for putting in their input!!!!), and one of the most common complaints I hear about My Blood Approves is that Alice doesn't find out they're vampires until halfway through the book.

Now, I'm defending or disagreeing with these comments. This is a fact, and some people feel like it takes too long, so it does take too long. I value their feedback, and I plan on applying that to other books.

But what I am going to do is take a moment to explain why I have her wait so long, and even though it might be to the story's detriment, here it is:

I wanted her to establish  a relationship with Jack. Since I wanted to create an obvious difference between her feelings for Jack and Peter, I had to give her time to nurture an attachment with Jack before she met Peter. Because if I'm honest, if Alice had met Peter first, who knows how she would feel about Jack?

I strive for realism in the book, which sounds silly when I'm writing about vampires, but I want them portrayed as realistically as possible. That also means I want the humans to react the way humans react, and if I met a guy and he told me he was a vampire right after I met him, I would never speak to him again. And if he acted strangely, my first thought wouldn't be vampire either. I'd have to have evidence before I believed it.

Maybe it slows down the beginning more than I'd meant for it too. Maybe I could've put it in a few chapters sooner at least. I don't know. I don't feel comfortable making such a dramatic change on the book now that its been published and reviewed, but I am keeping this in mind with future books.

In other news, Fangtastic Books will be having a guest blog with yours truly, and while I can't remember exactly what I said, I do know that it's very, very exciting. It should be up sometime in the evening of Thursday, June 10 (also know as - today.)

On top of fantastic guest blogs by authors such as myself, she has giveaways, reviews, and TONS of other stuff. So if you enjoy vampires, you should really check out the site: Fangtastic Books.

The Indie Spotlight is a site devoted to shining a spotlight on up and coming indie authors, and they've been gracious enough to do a feature with me on Sunday, June 13th. They have daily features on authors in a wide variety of genres, so you should definitely check that out: here.

Meanwhile, over at Book Rat's blog, she's still has Jane in June running, and if you haven't checked it out, you're a crazy person. It's chocked full of so much stuff, I'm pretty sure she's given up sleep to run it. She has about ten billion giveaways, from Bridget Jone's Diary to Android Karenina

She also has a piece by me coming up sometime this month, and I'm embarrassed by the horribleness of it. So much of the guest posts have been utterly amazing, and I wrote a silly Dear Jane letter. So, you should definitely check out her site. But maybe skip over my part.

And one final note: Joran van der Sloot is the biggest douche that ever lived.

EDIT: The guestblog I did for Fangtastic Books is already up! Yay! But it's just as I predicted - very exciting. I might even divulge what Team I'm on. And even better - she's giving away a FREEE copy of My Blood Approves - either PDF or paperback!!! 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What some of you may know is that its my goal in life to procure a sponsorship and/or lifetime supply of Red Bull. My plan to do this is become a world famous, best-selling author and name drop Red Bull every chance I get. 

Sure, writing good books that everyone wants to read is awesome, but getting free energy drinks until I die? That's the real measure of success.

Unfortunately, I fail. 

I've once again done an interview and forgotten to mention Red Bull. How can I be so careless? It's as if I don't want to succeed. Maybe I'm like Jesse James, and I want to self-sabotage. Except instead of cheating on America's sweetheart, Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock with a bunch of skanky hermaphroditic racists, I forget to talk about Red Bull. So it's very, very similar.

Anyway, the good people (or rather, person) at Twimom 227 blog have interviewed me and reviewed my book. The interview is posted today, and I thank her greatly for giving me the opportunity to ramble about my inspirations, upcoming books, and Prince. So that's very kind of her.

When she's not busy letting me plug my wares, she reviews other books, mostly paranormal romance and urban fantasy. If that sorta thing is your bag, you should go over there and check out her recommendations.


Her review of My Blood Approves goes up tomorrow, and I don't know what she thinks yet. (Fingers crossed that she doesn't hate it!)

On a related note, all of you that have been reviewing my books, thank you very much. I truly appreciate your feedback, and while the response has been overwhelmingly positive, I also value the negative comments. 

Onto a bit of sad news that I want to talk about. If you've read my books, you're familiar with the character Mae. Mae, while fictional, is heavily inspired by Nanny, my gramma. In fact, the name "Mae" is taken from Nanny's middle name.

Like Mae, Nanny was from Reading, England, although Nanny is younger than Mae. Nanny helped raise me. She babysat me all the time until I was five, and my parents had a tumultuous marriage, so my mother and I would often end up staying there. On my own, I've lived with her numerous times through out, and to this day, I only live a block away from her.

She's one of the funniest, most caring, charming people you'd ever meet. Everyone, and I mean everyone, remembers her. She always thinks it because of her British accent, but it's more than that. She has always had a vibrance and warmth that radiates off of her.

Nanny is without a doubt one of the most influential people in my life. It is because of her that I learned to love Jim Henson, and I can't count the number of times she watched Labyrinth or Dark Crystal or even those Star Wars Ewok spinoffs with me. Actually, the first time I watched Stars Wars was with her when I was about seven.

More importantly, we read together. We played together. When I was young, maybe 2 or 3, she made a tape recording of me telling a story about the Big Bad Wolf. She was one of the first people to see that I had storytelling in me. 

Its from her I learned love and imagination. We've never been a people big on motivation or success, but the doors to her home were always open to anyone that's needed, and lots of people have take her up on that over the years. She loves unconditionally and without reproach. There is nothing I can say or do that would ever make her stop loving me, and it's that kind of foundation that has enabled to be who I am today.

In February, Nanny was diagnosed with dementia. And I guess I didn't except things to go downhill so fast...

There's not really a lot I want to say about that. She's just one of the most amazing people I've ever know. She's like Michael Caine & Betty White times a million. 

And I just wanted to share that with you. The essence of Mae is Nanny, and most of the neat parts of me come from her too.

This picture was taken in England, I think sometime in the mid 1950's. My gramma is the second one from the left. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

and I think to myself...

I've added soundtrack links for my books under the My Books tab. Instead of just a list, it actually has the songs so you can hear them. I enjoy music, and I enjoy sharing. So there.

To check it out, click here: My Blood Approves soundtrack, Fate soundtrack, and Flutter soundtrack.


Also, the contest is still going on at Rex Robot Reviews. I know I said was going to have a contest when I sold a thousand books, but because she has one going on, I don't want to conflict with that. 

I'll figure something out later to celebrate when I sell 1,000 of My Blood Approves.

And if you haven't read Rex Robot Reviews wonderful review of My Blood Approves, read here.  
Here's a quick excerpt of my favorite part: "So we've got a cute, fresh take on the vampire bloodlines aspect of the story. If you like vampires and young adult novels- check this book out! Amanda is definitely an author to watch out for."


Victorine Lieske, author of Not What She Seems, did a really interesting post where she talks to indie authors about the successes they're having. I gave some input, as well did a lot of great authors, so you should check it out. 

I'm currently reading Portal by Imogen Rose, and it's fantastic. I'll be doing an interview and review on her book later this month, and she has a sequel coming out sometime around the end of June, I believe.  

And on one final nice note, check out my domination of the Hot Releases category on Kindle:

 

Friday, June 4, 2010

an interview and a contest!!

What fun! Rex Robot Reviews did an interview with me and is also having a giveaway for the first book in the series, My Blood Approves. You have the option of either PDF or paperback, which makes it an added bonus for ereader aficionados.

To check it out, click: here. Rex Robot Reviews is a great blog that has lots of reviews on paranormal romance and urban fantasy, and lots of great author interviews, including one with Robin Becker, author of Brains: A Zombie Memoir.

So even if you don't read my interview or enter the contest, you should still check out her site. (But my interview doesn't answer the age-old question, what do I do when I'm not writing?)

In other fun news related to me, one time I was quoted in SPiN magazine. 





(Yes, I did say that. Yes, I did own Hanson. Yes, this is my biggest claim to fame. Yes, it is from 6 years ago.)


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jim Henson predicted the end of the world

Or more accurately, Brian Henson did. But more on that in a second...

I read an article today about the BP oil spill, and some analysts think the oil spill won't end until Christmas. Meaning 4 million barrels oil would be dumped in the Gulf. And (I'm quoting) "That much oil would wipe out all life in the Gulf and completely change the ecosystem." (read the full story here)

Let me repeat that:  That much oil would wipe out all life in the Gulf.

In less than a year, those greedy bastards and their lack of foresight will probably lead to the destruction of an entire ecosystem.  Fish, crabs, eels, dolphins, sea turtles, and all the plant life. Here's a list of how and what animals are effected by this: here.

This doesn't even mention the economic damage it will do to tourism and the jobs of people who thrived on fishing and dependency on the Gulf life.

One more time: That much oil would wipe out all life in the Gulf.

Let's put aside how devastating it is to have a complete and total holocaust of an entire ecosystem. Let's think about what that will mean big picture. To destroy all that life and dump all that oil in the ocean. What that will mean for life everywhere, in the ocean, on land. How that much pollutants will devastate the entire frickin planet.

This makes me so angry that I'm shaking. Literally shaking. 

On a more positive note, here's a link to 5 things WE can do to help fix this (via Mark Hoppus). Number 2 is volunteering in the Gulf and Florida, but that might not be an option for everybody, and there are things on the list that everyone could and should do.

I am adding one more to call action that isn't on there: Boycott BP. I know they're just one of many greedy oil companies, but it feels a little better knowing that you're not buying gas from the company that killing all life in the Gulf. 

I started this out saying that Brian Henson predicted the end of the world. I'm sure he's not the first person to posit how greed, ignorance,and pollution would lead to the earth's demise, but since this whole spill happened, I can't help but think of the final episode of Dinosaurs.

If you're not familiar, Dinosaurs was a brilliant sitcom from the early 90's using animontrics and puppets. It was Jim Henson's brain child that he was working on when he died, and it's one of the best parts of his legacy.

I posted an abridged version of the episode (cut down to just under 5 minutes), and it explains all the major plot points. Unfortunately (and somewhat strangely) it doesn't have the final haunting minutes of the episode, so I'm posting that video too. (To read the full episode synopsis, click here)

The last 3.5 minutes of Dinosaurs: (Warning: It always makes me cry, but maybe that's important.)



The recap of the Dinosaurs episode "Changing Nature":


If you don't watch, here's a quote from the end of the episode that sums it up:
Earl: Well, you see little guy, what happened was...Daddy got put in charge of the world, and he didn't take real good care of it. And now it looks like there's not going to be much of a world left for you and your brother and your sister to live in.

Baby: Are we gonna move?

Earl: Well, no. There's no place to move to, this is the only world we got.

me pretending I'm famous

I don't like talking about my books. When people ask me about them, I always get very vague and evasive, and change the subject as soon I'm able.

I don't know why I'm so uncomfortable. I love my books. I think they're good and funny and enjoyable. And I can talk endlessly about any other topic in pop culture. I could spend 2 hours explaining ad nauseum why Keiran Culkin is the best Culkin. (And he is, but all the Culkins are good. All of them.)

What is it about talking about something I've done that makes me so awkward?

I can talk about myself in relation to celebrities. I was once in a music video (truth). For a few months, I regularly exchanged messages via the internet with Craig Fairbaugh of (+44) and Transplants fame (he is very nice.) Debra Jo Rupp once made a joke at my expense. And I stared blankly at Michael Ian Black.

Oh, and the other day I got recognized. In real life. A lady stopped me and said, "Hey, you're the girl that writes those vampire books aren't you?" And I said, "Yes, yes, I am" and awkwardly detangled myself from the conversation.

I am not smooth, and I don't know what to say about myself.

Anyway - the point of this is that if you're eloquent and can say things about my books, I'd enjoy it a lot if you did, but only if you want to. Because I'm not any good at pretending to be famous.

Look, here's the video I was in! Me and my friend Valerie were actaully asked to participate in the testimonials, where the wind chill was about 30 below, but ours didn't make the cut. :(



See, I'm famous! (That is sarcasm, by the way.) We got to talk to Terry and Kelly most of the time. That was fun. 



Addendum: I've also met Darth Vader. I can't find my picture with him (cause that's how life is), but here's a pic of my friend Petey with him (I'm the one taking the picture.)






Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May flowers bring June allergies

May was a tremendous month for me, and I want to share the love. But I don't know how yet.


I'll devise a plan, I'm sure.

With Flutter out, I'm looking ahead to Wisdom. And I've been thinking about the cover. I don't know what I'm going to do.

Every book I've written has a color scheme when I'm writing. (In My Blood Approves, the color of blue is mentioned frequently - Jack's eyes, his bedroom, Alice's clothes, etc. In Fate, purple is strung through out, most noticiably in the character Violet.)

But for Wisdom, I don't know what the color is. I suppose I have time to figure this all out.

Also, I'm going to be participating in an event on Book Rat's blog. It's Jane in June (as in Jane Austen), and she has a lot of really great giveaways and blogs going on all month. You can also link up any reviews or any Jane related activities you have going on too.

If you're a Jane Austen fan, or just like good things, you should definitely check it out this month.

I've also decided that I'm going to give away an autographed copy of My Blood Approves after I sell my 1,000 book. It should be happening kinda soon (sooner if you tell all your friends how much you love the books *wink wink nudge nudge*) so check back often.

I'll get the details on the Fefe Dobson giveaway also, but I think that's happening June 15th.