Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Banned Books Week

I'll be honest: I hadn't heard of Banned Books Week. That makes me shamefaced because I am so anti-censorship, it's not even funny. In high school, I did not one, not two, but three separate presentations on censorship, because it was probably the only thing I was really passionate about in high school.

I also want to take the time to mention something kinda cool and surprising - of the top 100 most banned and challenged classics according to the ALA, a total of 8 of them were required reading in my high school. Not optional reading. Definitely not banned. I had to read them to pass.

And beyond that, the first time I read a number of authors - including Kurt Vonnegut, J. D. Salinger, Douglas Adams, Joseph Heller, Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, and Virginia Wolfe - was when I checked out their books from my high school library.

And, in steps further, when I was in high school, when I wrote short stories for my creative writing and English classes, nobody ever cared if I swore or if the content got violent. As long as I had proper grammar and stayed on topic, they didn't mind.

I never knew that a small-town in Minnesota would be so progressive. Way to not suck, Austin!

But I digress. The point is that banning books is stupid. I'm not saying you have to like books or read them or even let your children read them, but deciding someone else's children can't read them is ridiculous. Especially when so few kids read today (or so the internet tells me).

And that really is who you're hurting. It's the kids.

You can ban as many books as you want from schools, libraries, and even burn them at your PTA meetings. But thanks to the good ol' First Ammendment (which is FIRST for a reason), you can't really ban it. You can't stop me from getting it. I have Amazon, and I can order 37 copies of Lolita and Mein Kampf  if I want to (which I don't -  I've read them both and didn't like either of them, but I don't think you should ban them).

I write books for young adults. A couple of adults have complained about the content of my books - i.e. the occasional language and non-graphic sexual... themes? (They do not complain of the violence, though, or the amount of blood-drinking, but that's another topic of another day).

I have tried to keep my books PG-13, but I am aware that some people might find my books inappropriate children. And that's fine with me. How you want to raise your child is between you and your child. I also believe that parents are that concerned about what their children are reading tend to know what their kids reading - and they would without a school imposing a ban.

At any rate, I encourage everyone to read a Banned or Challenged Book this week. It's a broad list, from Judy Blume to Stephen King, with most people in between. For a full list of the Top 100 Most Frequently Banned or Challenged Books, go: here.

I'm going to read Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy  by Douglas Adams, because I've been wanting to read it lately anyway. Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series as the awesome distinction of being one of the few books to be banned... before it was ever written. (Click: here to find out why.)

Also, just check out Richelle's awesome post about Banned Books: here.

Oh, and you should read Lenny Bruce. Or watch the fantastic film Lenny starring Dustin Hoffman about his life. He's like a personal hero. Lenny said, "It' s the suppression of the word that gives it the power." And he is soo right.

And for reasons I don't understand My Blood Approves is currently 10% on sale Amazon for the Kindle and Fate is 20% on sale Amazon for Kindle. So, that's a deal.And Switched is 20% off at Barnes and Noble for the Nook.

Oh, and my 11-year-old brother texted me yesterday. He said he asked his school library to order my books, and they're going to. So, I'm not banned! Yay!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Twas the Night Before the Night Before Zombiepalooza

Friday kicks off Zombiepalooza, so I've officially got my blog all decked out for Halloween.

I have a calender  up in Zombiepalooza to showcase all the stuff going on in October. As things happen, I'll post links, and update the schedule.

As you can see, I still have a few days open, so if you're interested in participating, let me know!

Hollowland now has a fancy book trailer, the first chapter, a soundtrack, and the cover up, so you should check it out.

I'm getting excited for October and Halloween. As you should be. It's going to be a hoot this year! A hoot, I tell you! I'm going as Poison Ivy. I know that's not very Zombiepalooza, but I'm doing theme costumes with friends this year and we're going as Batman villains. And I like Poison Ivy. I considered Harley Quinn, but her costume is lame.

I want to post a comprehensive list of the best zombie and horror films/books. What do you think are the best zombie/horror films/books of all time?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jim Henson

RIP Jim Henson
September 24, 1936 – May 16, 1990

Thursday, September 23, 2010

all we wanna do is eat your brains

I got acquainted with Jonathan Coulton when I saw him perform during a live telecast when RiffTrax did a screening of Plan 9 From Outerspace. If you're not familiar with RiffTrax, they're the guys from MST3K. And if you don't know what that is, go to Amazon and buy a DVD of Mystery Science Theater 3000 right now! Hurry!

I mention Jonathan Coulton because my blog title comes from his son "Re: Your Brains," which is pretty awesome. You should listen to that too, when you're looking up MST3K stuff. 

In an FYI about that - I'll be going to this this year: 

Anyway - Zombieaplooza news :

I've gotten a lot of great flash fiction and short stories submitted, plus a bunch of awesome giveaways. I've had a pleasure of reading all this stuff , and let me tell you, this whole zombie month is gonna be a real treat. Honest. 

It's neat seeing the different way people have taken this whole thing. From dark and creepy to funny and light. We've definitely got something for everyone.

I plan on doing up a calender in the next few days so you see everything and everybody that's coming up. But trust me. It's awesome. 

If you are interested in joining in Zombieaplooza, I've still got a few days open, so holla at me, and we can try to arrange something. 

Also, the wonderful Glendon Haddix with has made up some terrific logos:

Feel free to use them wherever you want. 

If you're having a Halloween event yourself, and you'd like me to contribute something, I'd be more than happy to. Just let me know (Fun fact: I'll come bearing paperbacks of Hollowland to giveaway!)

And in one final  fun story - I'm not sure if you caught The Greatest True Story Ever Told (Not Really) blog I posted a few weeks ago about my roommate Eric sleepwalking and randomly spouting out the name of a guy I follow on Twitter - Shane Nickerson. Eric had inexplicably become convinced that Shane Nickerson was involved in the theft of Eric's blankets.

About a week later, Shane Nickerson commented on the blog saying, "The weird thing is, I DID steal all of his blankets. :)"

This made me laugh, and that's what I follow him on Twitter.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

the tuna fish story

Once, I stole a window decal form a movie theater for the film I Heart Huckabees. It died with my car when they both went to the big trash heap in the sky (RIP Jameson Lyndale 1993-2006), and I've been sad about it ever since because of how much I enjoyed said film. Also, the decal was really pretty and rainbowy.

The point is - I really enjoy I Heart Huckabees.

If you haven't seen the film, you should, but I'm not going to explain it to you now. I'm only going to say the part that matters: Jude Law plays this super cocky guy who works at a store called Huckabees. He has this story that he tells about Shania Twain.

Here's the story: "Shania hates mayo all right, and she can't eat chicken salad, thats no joke. We gave it to her once, she threw up in the limo - the lady hates chicken salad. So I bring out a bunch of tuna fish sandwiches - she still doesn't believe me - I say, Shania, I'm allergic to mayo - which, by the way, is a lie. Shania still doesn't believe me so I eat two of the sandwiches in front of her to prove it. So she eats one and a half sandwiches, one and a half sandwiches... before she realizes, its chicken salad."

Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin are following Jude Law around, and they recorded him telling the story. They play it back for him, and it turns he tells this story constantly - pretty much every time he meets new people. It's his story to make himself seem cool and smart and important, and it's his fallback instead of actually being any of those things.

Me and my roommate Eric refer to this as a "tuna fish" story. It's technically more of a "chicken salad" story, but that's not the point. Whenever we hear someone tell a story repeatedly in a grandiose way, we go, "Oh, that's a tuna fish story."

I have a few of them myself. Most of them involve a few ridiculous incidents that happened to Eric a few years back. I've analyzed it, and I think I tell them because they're hilarious, it establishes Eric and I as a duo with a shared history, and it makes me seem like the cool one. But mostly, because the stuff that happens to Eric is the most ridiculous and bizarre stuff that ever happens.

The point is - everyone probably has "tuna fish" stories. I don't think they're necessarily bad things. Comedians entire sets are pretty much just "tuna fish" stories. So I'm not knocking the idea of one in general.

I am about to knock one particular "tuna fish" story.

As you may ore may not know, Mark Hoppus has a new show on Fuse. (New episodes Thursday 7/6 Central - so you can catch the premiere of Community right after on NBC). On his first episode, he had on his friend John Mayer.

My thoughts on John Mayer prior to the interview: His music was a hit or miss with me and I never really got into it. I vacillated between annoyed by him as a person and really enjoying his overt honesty and bluntness. But at the time of the interview, I liked him.

So, Mark asks, "When you meet people, do you still introduce yourself? Do you still say, 'Hi, I'm John?"

And I've been looking for a clip so you could see his response or I could write it word for word, but the youtube is hating on me. So what I'm saying might not be exactly correct. Don't quote me on it.

But John says something to the extent of, "It's funny that you say that. The other night I was out with Jay-Z, and he met my friend Keith, and Jay says, 'Hi, I'm Jay,' then he stops and turns to me says, 'Wait. Do I need to introduce myself? Do people know who I am?'"

And Mark laughs and says something like, "Right. You still say it be polite." (Mark also made a joke about everyone knowing him or something, but I don't remember what he said exactly. I laughed, though).

And John says, "Right, to be polite, you still say it, and that's what I said to Jay." John laughed, and then reiterated the story he'd just told. "Jay was like, 'Do I need to tell him I'm Jay? Or do people already know who I am?' I mean, he's Jay-Z."

I wish you could've seen it visually, to see the way John Mayer's body language was, like he leaned into Mark to emphasize the importance of what he was saying. There was also something incredibly rehearsed about it, as if John had told the story a thousand times before.

In fact, I think Mark accidentally cut him off when he laughed, and that's why John Mayer had to repeat the story, because he had to say everything about it. Get it all out.

The story itself isn't that terrible. It actually is something that could be anecdotal and fun about Jay-Z. An amusing talk show story, which is what it was meant to be. But the way John Mayer said it, I've never heard anybody sound more pompous or pretentious.

I don't know how to explain it. It was like John Mayer was yelling, "Do you get it? I'm so famous I don't have to introduce myself, and I'm friends with Jay-Z, who's like the most famous person on the planet, but he still asked me for advice, because I'm so smart and so fucking amazing. Also, I'm on a digital cleanse, because tweeting about Halo has become too emotionally draining and I need to stop letting people in my life because everybody wants to be in my life. And I'll only date a girl that listens to my music, because if she's not obsessed with every part of me, then what's the point? Also, I wrote 'Your Body is a Wonderland' about myself, because have you seen this package? Haha, but yes, I'm polite. 

Okay, so the last thing about "Your Body is a Wonderland," he didn't really say, but I'm actually paraphrasing everything he said during the interview.

I guess in fairness, I'm not sure if that was a true "tuna fish" story. It might just be the way John Mayer always talks, but he wasn't that bad the rest of the show. He did seem condescending, though.

I don't have a real point with this. Just make sure your own "tuna fish" story isn't condescending, and I want to punch John Mayer in the face.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

what the heck, Joaquin?

My obsession with the Phoenix family has been long standing and unhealthy. Ever since I was ten and I saw River Phoenix, only to discover he'd already been dead for a year, I've been completely fascinated. The the story of River, Joaquin, and their sisters is so bizarre and tragic. (Fun fact: Joaquin has like 3 nephews, and they're all named after River. True story.)

And since I'm a crazy person, I've felt oddly protective over Joaquin (well, as protective as a complete stranger can feel about a wealthy, successful man ten years her senior).

So when this whole "retirement from acting" thing started happening, I immediately began freaking out. I did assume his breakdown was legit. Between the crazy cults, sexual abuse, living on the streets, being a child actor, watching his older brother die, and eventually winning an Oscar, I thought, it all finally came up. He'd lost it.

Then I heard his brother-in-law Casey Affleck was filimg it, and I was like, "Well... if he's there, he's gotta be okay. I mean, Casey's rational. He wouldn't let Joaquin do anything reasonable?"

So... now Casey's says its real. The whole thing. All fake.

But... why? Why did they do this? What was the point? To essentially sabotage his own career to make a mockumentary that's not funny or poignant? I did expect there to be some mention about River or at least some parallel to be drawn about the cost of celebrity on a person. But River's is blatantly absent from the film, in name or person. Apparently, old home movies in the film were actually cast with child actors. So it's all fake.

Here's what I do know: I don't understand them, but the Phoenix's are still fascinating and bizarre. And I really do wish them all the best, and hope that they're doing well.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Thoughts on Indie Publishing

As of... a few hours ago, I've sold over 20,000 books. This is all ebooks, of course, spread out over 5 different books sold in the last 5 months. I have sold a total of 101 paperbacks, though, which I've heard from the internet is pretty good for indie. I'm hoping this number goes up now that I was able to make the paperbacks more affordable (down from over $15 to under $10).

My books are also available for free on online sites like Scribd and wattpad, and a number of other sites. I didn't put them up on any of them, and the versions are old and not as well edited (yeah, they're even LESS edited than what's out now). Since I'm didn't upload them, I have no idea how many free downloads they've had.

The most I've sold for one title specifically is My Blood Approves, of which I've sold over 6,000 copies.

In my last blog about writing an epic tale of how it happened, I basically just explained my personal journey to get here. I didn't express my thoughts on what happened or why I thought it'd happened. And now I am. So be prepared for another long post, but I'm going to say all the things I want to say on it, so later when people ask my thoughts, I can just direct them back to this post.

I don't have anything bad to say about indie publishing. I also don't have anything bad to say about traditional publishing.

This might be crazy talk, but I don't think they're mutally exclusive. Traditional publishing has never hurt me, and in fact, without their urge to publish Stephanie Meyer, I'd have a whole different blog.

I've never thought of traditional publishers or agents as evil gatekeepers waiting for me to fail. I've thought of them as people, who have careers and families, and part of their jobs entails figuring out the bottom line.

I definitely think there are flaws in the system, and the market sucks right now. People don't have money and aren't spending as much as they used to. Being a salesmen is hard right now.

I do know that I've accomplished more in the past 5 months than I did in the past 9 years trying to get published. However, if I'd had the opportunity to publish my first manuscript at the age of 17 when I'd first finished it, I know I would've. And I know that this would a vastly different story.

I am sooooo grateful for the fact that Kindle didn't exist 9 years ago, or even 5 years ago. I would've put crap out there, and I know it.

On that note, here's what I think would've happened if I had the chance to publish my first book Dreams I Can't Remember on Kindle when I was 17-
-I would've sold very, very few copies
-I would've gotten almost entirely negative reviews
-I would've cried a lot and vowed to quit writing (which I probably wouldn't have done, but I would probably quit trying to write professionally)

So that is a definite downside to indie publishing. Writers - myself included - risk putting out stuff that just isn't ready yet, and the damage that can do to our precious egos is terrifying. Also, things about it polluting the indie market may or may not be true.

I do believe that people who publish to Kindle out of laziness will put out bad books, but they also won't do the work to promote their books, so they won't sell anyway, and it becomes a moot point.

I think if you care enough to market your book, you probably care enough to write a decent book. But I could be wrong about that.

This whole thing has afforded me opportunities I never even believed possible. The past five months have been surreal and amazing. They've also been hard work. I have to make a point of staying off the computer on weekends, and I rarely go to bed before 6 a.m. I spend a great deal of time stressing about covers, sales, blogs, editing, emails, etc.

Indie publishing is not the easy way out. I think, sometimes, even to me it feels like "easy way" because of the instant gratification of it. But I also forget that I've been working my ass on my writing for the past ten years - for free. And I sometimes spend 10-12 hours a day on the computer, writing and marketing. Because I enjoy what I'm doing and I'm getting paid for it, it makes it feel like the easy way, even when I'm exhausted by the end of the night.

Here's something else to consider though: I'm selling really well for an indie author. But how well am I selling for a traditionally published author? Using my same numbers, selling 6,000 of one title in 5 months. What is that? Is that midlist?

A best-seller indie is a midlist traditional.

On the same token, my understanding is that I'm making more money than a midlist author. I'm not going to talk about money because my mother said it's "gauche." But I do think I'm making more as an indie selling 20,0000 books than I would as a traditionally published author selling 20,000 books.

But if I could get a book in Wal-mart, selling paperbacks, that would be an entirely different story.

So, if you're asking me, should you go indie or traditional? My answer is: I have no idea.

I know a lot of you think the answer seems cut and dried, but it's not. Also, I'm unwilling to do advise anybody on major career decisions in their life, especially when I don't know them personally and haven't read their work. So I refuse to be proponant for one side or the other.

But beyond that, I don't actually think there is a "right" answer. Some paths work better for different people and different books at different times.

While I don't think my path has been that improbable or unlikely for any other indie authors out there, I also currently don't know many other indie authors having the same kind of response as I am. But I know that I'm not that the exception to the rule. I'm not the only one.

Going indie isn't a sure fire means to success anymore than going any other route. All require work, timing, and the right book.

I do think that if you're considering publishing, you should weigh the options. Crossing out indie just because of the stigma is silly, just the as silly as it is crossing out traditional because someone else is succeeding with indie.

So that's that. And you should check out the Zombieaplooza. I'm still looking for people to do guest blogs and what not.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

zombies, vampires, and ghouls - oh my!

Quick reminder: Don't forget to check out my gigantic massive awesome contest. It is awesome. And gigantically massive.

Now, down to business: I'm releasing my super awesome zombie novel Hollowland in October. So I thought it would be fun to have a big zombie-apolooza in October, because of Halloween and me releasing a book. But I'm not limiting it to just zombies. Zombies are awesome, but they aren't the only thing that goes bump in the night.

So - to everyone out there: If you want to do a guest blog talking about zombies, monsters, ghosts, etc, or write a bit of scary flash fiction, or want to donate anything for a giveaway (i.e. books, movies, limbs) any time in the month of October. You can even do a review of your favorite scary book or movie. Whatever you'd like, as long as its in the spirit of Halloween.

Also, in really good news, my books are now available in paperback for a MUCH lower price than before. I think My Blood Approves used to be $15.49. It's now only $8.99! Switched is also out in paperback for the first time.

I've revamped my tabs at the top, for fun. My Blood Approves has links to all the new paperbacks.

I've also added a tab for Hollowland, which is coming out in October. I included a cover created by the amazing Ronnell D. Porter, but I'm still in the process of paying for it (I'm Paypal illiterate) so I haven't put it anywhere else. I'm not even sure if I should post it here, but I'm really excited about it and wanted to show people. 

Here's a bit of bad news: I'm pushing back the release date for Torn. I was originally hoping to have it out before or around the same time as Hollowland, but I overestimated my ability for things to happen. I'm helping out with some family things, plus I'm going on vacatation in October, and combining that with getting two books ready for release is just a bit too much for me.

Hollowland is much more Halloween (and much more ready for release), so I'd rather get that out now. Torn will be out in November, though. I'm not going to set an exact date, but you'll see it by the end of November.

On the subject of Hollowland, I'll be looking for a couple readers to check it out in about a week. Be warned: it's not a paranormal romance. While there is some romance, the focus isn't on it, and I'd classify it more urban fantasy/dystopia. It's a bit grittier than my other books, and I'd say its best for ages 17 and over.

And if anyone describes themselves both as a "grammar Nazi" and "zombie aficionado" and wants to go over it, I'd especially love to hear from you.

If you're interested in doing some kind of post for zombie-aplooza, or if you're interested in beta testing Hollowland, comment or email me -

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

where the magic happens

If you haven't checked out my gigantic massive awesome contest, you should. Cause I'm giving away lots of books and swags. Check it out: here.

Today, I cleaned up my office. And for no apparent reason, I took pictures of it share with you. 

This is where the magic happens, right there at that desk. The corkboard helps me keep track of what projects I'm working on and has proposed release dates. That's Christian Bale staring down at me above Heath Ledger poster.
Christian Bale - he's always watching and keeping me on track.
That stack are rough drafts of all my books that are in the editing stage, along with a few copies of the MBA series on top. I also have a stack of CD's next to a framed picture of Travis Barker form when I met him.
On the left side is an (+44) CD insert autographed by Travis Barker and Craig Fairbaugh, along with a limited editon blue .45 of "Cliffing Diving" by (+44). That picture is by Victoria soembody. She does really amazing work. The license plate is from my favorite car - Jameson Lyndale Hocking - and that's the car in the picture above it. The ticket hanging on the corkboard is from when I saw Michael Ian Black last year.
This is my bookcase, labeled for easier understanding. 

That's Squeak - a kitten I'm fostering. She's helping. 
The Breakfast Club movie poster.

So there you have it. That's what my office looks like. It's very exciting, I know.

Monday, September 13, 2010

gigantic massive awesome contest

Okay. So, I love this band called Black Lab that not enough people listen to, even though they should, because they're awesome. But anyway, they have this really beautiful song called "Ten Million Years."

I think it fits really with My Blood Approves. So for any of you with time on your hands and a knowledge of things, I'd love to see a fan made video or some kind of book trailer for My Blood Approves set to "Ten Million Years" by Black Lab. (Or I'd also enjoy "This Night" by Black Lab.)

So, if you're interested, here's what I propose:

1. Make a video anytime now until say... September 24th. You can still make a video after that if you want, but it won't be entered. The only requirements for the video are: I want it to be set to "Ten Million Years" by Black Lab or "This Night" by Black Lab, and it has to be in relation to My Blood Approves. Either the first book or the series as a whole or any book in the series, really.

2. Post the video or a link to it or email it or any way to make it so its visible to me. If you want the prizes, also include your email address or some way for me to contact you so I can let you know you've won.

3. I'll choose a winner based on my favorite, and I reserve the right to choose as many runner-ups as I'd like and send them prizes also.

4. Because I'm really excited about this and I'd like people to do this, I'm going to give away tons of stuff.  The whole series as paperbacks, plus pins, magnets, bookmarks, a t-shirt, and any other swag I can come up with by the time the contest ends. Maybe a bag too, to put it all in. I'll autograph stuff too, if you want. I'll pretty much send you any thing My Blood Approves related that I have. I'll even throw in a paperback of Switched, and if its ready by then, an advanced copy of Torn. That's six books, and lots of other stuff.

So. That's my thoughts. If you're interested, have questions, or just like to say things, feel free to comment. I'll clarify as much as I can.

Also, for you Switched fans, I've got some new stuff about the Trylle Trilogy: here

Thursday, September 9, 2010

An Open Letter to Jonathan Taylor Thomas

Dear Jonathan Taylor Thomas:

On you're twenty-ninth birthday (or the day after, when this posts), I think its time to take a moment to reflect upon your life. All the things you've accomplished. Six or seven seasons on Home Improvement, the voice of Simba, maintaing flawless skin throughout your teenage years, graduating from Columbia with a degree in something science-y, and successfully avoiding the pitfalls of young Hollywood.

So kudos to you for doing something that only about 4 other actors have done before you. (I'm thinking Natalie Portman, Claire Danes, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Neil Patrick Harris. So you're in very good company.) (But why do all the boys have 3 names?)

But you know what the rest of those people did differently than you? They still act.

Don't get me wrong. That's not a bash against you. I just think that it's time you come back. You took some time off. You grew up off-camera for awhile. But it's been at least 5 years since I've seen you on film, and that's long enough.

Do you know who the number one heartthrob in America is right now? Robert Pattinson. No disrepect meant to him or his fans, but have you seen him?

He does deep brooding vampires well and good, but let's be honest, he's no Jonathan Taylor Thomas. An entire generation is being deprived of your acting chops and your illogically perfect skin.

Sure, I did go through a phase where I questioned my sexuality when I realized that you look exactly like Jo from Facts of Life. Then I realized that you're both just really pretty and she's a little butch and I got over it.

You also look much like a young Val Kilmer, but I'm not going into that now, because then I'd have go into that whole thing about how Val Kilmer doesn't look like Val Kilmer anymore, and that's too long and too off-point.

The point is: It's time to come back.

And Happy Birthday! 

Sincerely, your fan,

Amanda Hocking

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Greatest True Story Ever Told (Not Really)

There's a couple things I wanna say before I tell you the greatest true story ever told (not really).

First, I've got things sorted out, and all my books are being published through Createspace. This means that in a couple days, they'll be available in paperback form at a reasonable price. The first three books in the My Blood Approves series and Switched are all $8.99, and Wisdom is $9.99. (That's a savings of over $6 for the first three books each, and this also marks the first time Switched will be publicly available in paperback.)

I will let you know once they go live, and I'll be sure to update the links on my blog and what not.

Secondly, in a note related to the first, if you have a local library that you would like to see stocked with any of my books, let me know. I'd like to try to contact a few of them, and see if they'd be interested in purchasing them or I can donate a few copies.

Thirdly, I've got some family stuff going on lately. It's nothing major or that traumatic, but for the next few weeks, I'm not going to have as much time devote to writing/editing/etc. This means I may have to push the release date for Torn back to the beginning of October, but I don't see it being any later than that. I'm sorry for the delay in things, and I'll get the books out as soon as I can.

And now is the greatest true story ever told (not really.)

Picture it: Saturday night, my living room. My roommate Eric and I are discussing Robert Rodriguez, having recently seen him on G4. I thoroughly enjoy Robert Rodriguez because his films are fantastic, he's a megafox, and he seems like a swell guy. Eric wondered aloud if his new film Machete is any good. I haven't seen it yet, so I went to the only reliable source I know for this sorta thing: Twitter.

I follow a guy named Shane Nickerson. To be honest with you, I'm not entirely sure who he is. His tweets are very amusing, and that's why I follow him. From what I gather, he produces Rob Dyrdek's show on MTV (but in full disclosure, I don't actually know who that is or what that program is about, but I am aware of its existence).

Upon reading the Twitter, I discovered that Shane Nickerson had recently seen Machete and said it was awesome. I passed this information along to Eric, and he asked, "Its awesome according to who?" I explained that Shane Nickerson had tweeted it, and that I generally agree with his tweets, so it seemed reliable.

That's it. That was all that was said about that.

Many hours later, at 8 in the morning, when I'm sound asleep, I wake up to see my roommate Eric standing next to my bed in his pajamas with his arms crossed over his chest staring down at me.

Naturally, I asked, "What are you doing?"

And Eric said, "Shane Nickerson."

"What? What are you talking about?" I asked. "What are you doing?"

"I got up and went poop, and you took my blankets. Where are they?" Eric demanded. (Side note: I did not take his blankets).

"I didn't take your blankets. I don't know what you're talking about," I said. "Go back to bed."

"Shane Nickerson!" Eric repeated, but now he sounded really offended, like I should completely understand what he meant by that.

After a bit of similar banter,  Eric seemed to realize that he made absolutely no sense and he went to bed.  This is how my roommate sleepwalks.

Later on, when we were both awake for reals, Eric said that for reasons he's not entirely sure of, he'd been convinced that Shane Nickerson had been involved in extensive blanket thieving, so Eric assumed that he'd been a victim of it. 

This is a true story. It doesn't really have a point. But I don't think I've ever laughed harder about anything. And even now, when I think of Eric yelling "Shane Nickerson" at me while I'm half asleep, I laugh.

So... that's the greatest true story ever told (not really.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

that's all right because I love the way you lie

Have you seen the video for "Love the Way You Lie" by Eminem and Rhianna? I love the song, so I thought I'd check out the video. Dominic Monaghan eats Megan Fox's face. Not kidding. He's all Jennifer's Body on that thing.

Check it out:

Also, I'm getting pretty excited about the Jim Henson exhibit. (Only 52 days until I see it!) Here's a pretty fancy video about the exhibit. It's shot in Orlando, but the one I'll see will be in Chicago, but it's the same stuff.

Kevin Smith is my doppelganger


Here's what happened: My brain shut off. It got too overwhelmed, and it said, "Nope. I'm not doing anything. I don't know when I'll do anything again, but for the next few days, if you try to make do something, it's not happening."
This is why I haven't been replying to emails properly or responding to comments or writing or doing much of anything useful. I did watch three episodes of MST3K and take my cousin to see Sesame Street Live, so it wasn't a total loss of brain shutting-down ness. I also watched the Michael Wincott parts of three different movies, because Michael Wincott is the best part of any movie. Ever.

But here I am. My brain's still working at about 50% power, but that's enough time off. We had a long weekend, and that was great. But I've got stuff to do, and I need my brain to do it. So tomorrow, we'll be back. At 100%. I promise. 

Also, in a post related to the last one - a lot of people had made the valid point that what I should do depends on what my goals are in regards to my writing career. That's sort of an obvious answer, but it begs the question - what are my writing goals? 

That's too big to answer, and my brain's still only at 50%, so we'll answer the smaller one:

Why did I self-publish?

To that, I defer to Kevin Smith, writer/directer of such gems as Clerks, Chasing Amy, and Dogma. I have always felt that in a lot of ways, Kevin Smith and I kindred spirits. Sure, Jersey Girl sucked, but I'm aware that not everything I write will be of the non-sucking variety. 

But I think that Kevin Smith and I have a lot of the same motivations, and a lot of the same attitudes about life. Although, he smokes a lot of pot. And I don't. 

Since I brought up Kevin Smith, you might think that I'm going to mention parallels in our careers and personality. And I possibly could. He started out indie. He references John Hughes a lot. He appreciates a good boombox. He inserted Morris Day & the Time at the end of Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back because they're awesome. He named a character after Catcher in the Rye. He's obsessed with the Canadian TV show Degrassi. He also shot Mallrats in Minnesota, just for funsies. And he prefers Matt Damon to Ben Affleck. 

I'm actually just starting to realize how similar I am to Kevin Smith. 

But that's not what I meant. I meant Chasing Amy. Not ruin the film for you, but here's the deal: This chick named Alyssa is a lesbian, and Ben Affleck falls in love with her. Initially, she blows him off, saying she's a lesbian and all that.

I just scoured the internet for the quote to make sure it's exactly right, but it's running through my head the last few days. Since I've been listening to people talk about and advise me and just talk about their own situations in regard to indie vs. trad publishing.

Here's the quote:

Alyssa Jones: The way the world is, how seldom it is that you meet that one person who just gets you--it's so rare... And to cut oneself off from finding that person, to immediately halve your options by eliminating the possibility of finding that one person within your own gender, that just seemed stupid to me. So I didn't. But then you came along. You, the one least likely. I mean, you were a guy.
Holden McNeil: Still am.
Alyssa Jones: And while I was falling for you I put a ceiling on that, because you
were a guy. Until I remembered why I opened the door to women in the first place: to not limit the likelihood of finding that one person who'd complement me so completely. So here we are. I was thorough when I looked for you. And I feel justified lying in your arms, 'cause I got here on my own terms, and I have no question there was some place I didn't look. And for me that makes all the difference.

 So. That's how I feel. That's why I did what I did. In regards to publishing. Not my sexual orientation (which is straight, in case you wonder). 
I knew I wanted to write, to be read, to be make a living at it. To do that, I wasn't willing to cross anything out. So I went indie. I'm still satisified with the way things are going, and I don't plan on any major changes in the near future.

However, part of me is afraid that if I were to change paths, I'm betraying the indie community somehow. That I'll be a sellout. (Which again, makes me like Kevin Smith.) 

That's not what I want to do, but I don't think that's what I am doing. I'm still doing what I set out to do - write, be read, make a living. No matter what I choose to do, that's where it comes from. And I'm not going to cross out anything path until I decide it's not going to improve the situation.

So... that's all I have to say about that.