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Monday, October 24, 2011

Hollowmen First Chapter

Hollowmen (The Hollows #2) is still with the editor, but it should be back soon. Until then, I'm giving you a sneak peak at the book with an excerpt from it. Keep in my mind that this version isn't fully edited. So, here it is:

            “Remember us - if at all - not as lost
            Violent souls, but only
            As the hollow men”
                        - T. S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men,” 1925

1.

I was dying. Or at least I really hoped I was.

During the operations, I often screamed for my own death, begging them to just hurry up and kill me. They didn’t, though. They planned on keeping me alive for as long as they could, dissecting me over and over again.

I’m not even sure what they were looking for, and honestly, I don’t think they knew either. From what Dr. Daniels had told me, the doctors and scientists at the quarantine were no closer to finding a cure for the lyssavirus, despite all examinations and tests and vivisection they’d performed on me.

Daniels was the doctor I dealt with the most. He did the day-to-day things with me and drew blood, occasionally gave me shots, but nothing too terrible. All the truly gruesome experiments and surgeries were left with a nameless, faceless mob of butchers.

Even though Daniels repeatedly assured me that they were surgeons, some of the finest that had ever practiced medicine, I wasn’t convinced. Any doctor that had taken the Hippocratic Oath couldn’t act like they did.

In the night, they would come into my little white room – a windowless cell that was a cross between a lab and a prison. The surgeons always came when I was sleeping based on some theory I was more complacent when I was drowsy, but I don’t think that was true.

Two or three large men would come to get me, their faces blocked by surgical masks. They didn’t need them, not yet, so I can only assume they wore them to keep themselves hidden. They wanted to make this as impersonal as possible. To them, I was just a lab rat, and they didn’t want to humanize the situation with introductions.

I tried to fight them when they came, kicking and hitting as best I could, but I was growing weak. Everything they did to me, it was killing me, even if went much slower than I’d have liked. Almost all my bones were visible, and my veins popped bright blue through my nearly translucent skin.

I tried to work out – doing pushups, curl ups, jogging in place, anything I could think of to keep my muscles from atrophying. But I was barely eating, I hadn’t seen the sun in I don’t know how long, and I was constantly losing blood and the occasional organ.

When I’d first starting getting carted off to these surgeries, they’d sent four men, and they could barely hold me. But last night, they’d only sent two. 

Lately, I’d been considering not fighting them, since it was a waste of energy. I never prevented anything from happening. I only exhausted myself. So last night, I’d attempted to not fight, to just let them take me away.

But as soon as I saw the operating room, I couldn’t help it. Just the sight of the cold metal, the ultra-bright lights, the scent of the disinfectant, it flipped a switch inside me. It filled me with an all-too familiar terror and a wave of intense nausea passed over me.

Each of the men had taken one of my arms, so my bare feet were still on the ground. As soon as the door swung open to the operating room, I bucked against them. I tried pull back and wiggle out of their grasps, and when that didn’t work, I tried kicking them.

But it didn’t matter. They were stronger than me, and I knew the only reward I’d get for my troubles would be bruises on my arms and legs.

By the time they dragged me over to the table, I’d given up on fighting on them. I’d resorted to begging, trying to appeal to their humanity, even though that had never worked. Anything I said – tears, prayers, bartering, pleading – it all fell on deaf ears.

They took off my shirt, and laid me down on the cold metal table. They held me down until the leather straps were secure. A strap ran across each ankle, thigh, wrist, and either over my ribs or my hips, depending on where they planned to cut. Today, the strap went over my ribs, so that meant my abdomen. 

After that, the two men left, and I waited. Sometimes I’d wait hours, maybe even longer.

But eventually, the operating team came in. Five men, all dressed in white, their operating masks on, their hair in surgical caps, plastic gloves on their hands. It all appeared like any normal surgery save one thing – the patient was completely lucid without any pain medication.

All their surgeries were performed while I was wide awake.

“Please,” I begged them. I strained to lift my head, as if it would somehow be better if I could see what they were doing, if I knew what tools exactly they were using to slice me open. “Please. Don’t do this. You just did this a few weeks ago. I need time to heal. Please. Let’s postpone this.”

But they didn’t talk to me. They never even acknowledged me. They’d talk amongst themselves in low whispers that I couldn’t understand.

“Okay, if we have to do this, can you just give me a warning?” I asked. “Just let me know before you cut me. Give me a second to prepare myself. Okay?”

When nobody said anything, I lay my head back, staring up at the light above me. It was so bright, it nearly blinded me.

Then, without warning, I felt the blade, cold metal slicing through my flesh. I gritted my teeth and squeezed my eyes shut. This wasn’t even the worst of it. Cutting through my skin was the least painful part of what they did.

It was when they were inside, playing with my organs, taking biopsies, squeezing things, investigating, that was impossibly brutal. Sometimes I’d pass out from the pain, but not often enough.

I winced as excruciating pain began in my abdomen. I couldn’t see what they were doing, but my skin was stretching as they pried open the incision they’d just made. In a few moments, they’d be cutting into some organ I probably needed to use to stay alive.

“Oh hell,” I said through gritted teeth, and the pain got worse. I balled up my fists and pulled at the straps as much as I could. Blinding agony ran through me, and I don’t even know what I was saying, but I knew I was screaming.

A blaring siren rang out through the room, and for a moment, I just thought it was a side effect from the pain. But when I opened my eyes, gasping for breath in an attempt to fight the pain, I saw that the room had been bathed in flashing red lights.

“What’s happening?” I asked.

I strained to lift my head, but all I could see where the doctors hovering over me, their hands bloodied from cutting me open. They exchanged looks and mumbled to each other, but they didn’t appear to know what was going on any more than I did.

“Hey, what’s going on?” I asked again. “Did the zombies get in?”

The surgeon that had cut me pulled his bloodied gloves off, then tossed them on me. I felt them, cold and latex, on my bare skin. Then he turned and walked away. He’d discarded his trash on top of me, and he and the rest of the doctors were leaving.

“Hey!” I shouted after them. “You can’t just leave me here! Unhook my straps! Hey!”

But they didn’t come back, not that I’d really expected them to. There was an emergency, and they didn’t have time to waste on me. I was nothing more than a science experiment to them.

If zombies had broken in – as I strongly suspected – I would be a buffet for them. I was tied down, unable to move, and my stomach had already been cut open, giving them easier access to their favorite foods. If they got in here, they would literally tear me apart.

As much as I wanted to die, or at least I’d rather be dead instead of having these surgeries, I did not want to get ripped to shreds. I wanted a nice quiet fall-asleep-and-never-wake-up kind of death. And if I couldn’t get that, then I had to get out of here.

I pulled at the straps, but they didn’t budge. After surgeries, I always had welts on my skin from fighting against them. The leather was ridiculously strong.

But since I had no other options, I kept straining at them. I tried to arch my back, even though it killed my abdomen, and I rocked the table.

All my struggling didn’t succeed in getting myself free, but it did tip the table over. It clattered to the concrete floor. The metal holding my strap in place was crushed between the table and floor. It wasn’t broken, not yet, but if I could keep rocking the table on it, I might be able to get the one hand free.

In order to do that, I had to smash my left hand painfully against the floor, but it was the only way I knew to get out. So I rocked backward, almost tipping the table again, but it steadied itself on the side.

Finally, the metal hook bent far enough that I could slide the wrist strap out. The leather was still around my wrist, like a bracelet, but I didn’t care as long as my hand was free.

With my free hand, I reached up to undo the strap on my right wrist. That sounded simpler than it actually was. I had to twist my freshly sliced open abdomen and stretch and strain. I ended up crying out as I undid my other hand.

The other straps were quicker and easier, and once I finally had them all off, I got to my feet. I took a look at my incision. It only ran about three inches across, so it wasn’t the worst they’d done, but blood was seeping out of it down my stomach and pants.

I couldn’t walk around like that, not with zombies attracted to the scent of blood. There was a needle and thread on the smaller table with all the surgical tools. The butchers always sewed me up when they were done, so that was something, I guess.

My hands were shaking, and my left hand was sore and scraped up from hitting the floor. Plus, I’d never been that great of a seamstress. But I couldn’t just walk around like this, and I was certain the doctors weren’t coming back.

I threaded the needle and braced myself on the tray. Fortunately, all the surgeries had raised my pain tolerance quite a bit. Unfortunately, it still hurt like hell when I shoved a needle through my own skin.

I didn’t scream, though. I didn’t want to attract unwanted attention from a zombie. I just clenched my teeth and powered through it. I nearly threw up half way through, but I kept it down.

With slick bloodied hands, I staggered around the room. I found a towel and wiped myself as best I could, then I put on the shirt I’d come in with. I grabbed a scalpel from the tray, since it was the closest thing I had to a weapon, and I left the operating room to find out what was waiting for me.

It was rather anticlimactic, because at first, there was nothing. The third floor – the floor I lived on – was completely deserted. The red flashing lights and warning sirens had scared everyone, as was their job.

The next floor was exactly the same, but I finally found something when I staggered out of the stair well onto the first floor.

That main level was soldiers’ quarters. It was like a dormitory, where they slept and lived. It was dark and appeared to be empty, but as I walked down the hall, one hand running along it for support, I heard something coming from a room.

I didn’t think I could fight, not in this condition with a tiny scalpel, so my best bet to escape a zombie was to take off running. And that’s exactly what I did.

I’d only made it a few steps, my bare feet slapping against the cool tiles, when I heard someone calling my name.


92 comments:

  1. Thank you so much Amanda! Cannot wait to get my hands on it! Keep up the stellar work.
    CJ

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  2. omg I am going to have a nightmare! AAAHHH! I can't read this at night, no way. Very spookily delicious.

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  3. Eeek! That totally made me queasy but I LOVED it!

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  4. I can't wait to read more! My favorite series of yours so far!

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  5. You're killing me! Why did I just read that? Now I just want the rest of the book and instead I have to wait! Love it btw!

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  6. Oh my gosh that was such a tease! I totally need more lol I know your doing everything you can to hurry the process along so I will wait patiently. Thanks for all your hard work I love it!

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  7. Hell Yeah! I have been waiting so patiently for this next book to come out. Darn cliffhangers! In the meantime, I ended up reading all the e-books you published. Thanks so much for all the zombies, vampires, trolls, and such. I can't wait to read more Amanda Hocking anything. =)

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  8. This is fantastic! I definitely didnt expect them to cut her up, cant wait to find out who was calling her name!!

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  9. Ahh, I love it! You're my favorite author ever. Keep writing girl. I can't wait for Hollowmen.

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  10. Debbie in Sydney, AustraliaOctober 24, 2011 at 2:27 AM

    Hooked already.... can't wait for this to be released!!

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  11. Can't wait to read the rest!!!

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  12. Why why WHY isn't the book out yet? I can't wait!!!

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  13. EXACTLY WHAT DAY DOES THIS COME OUT?!?! HOLY HELL!

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  14. I have been waiting sooo long to read an excerpt of this book! I've read all your e-books but Hollowland was my favourite then the trylle trilogy. Thank you so much for it and I cant wait to read more. I really liked the love hate relationship between Remy and Lazlo but I have a feeling that we might see Tatum more and real soon. Thank you!!!

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  15. Why oh why did I read it. I feel slightly sick and wanting to know more. Thanks for the tease and I can't wait for the rest.

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  16. I'm ashamed to admit that it took me a long time to read Hollowland. I didn't think Zombie's were 'my thing'. Needless to say it was a good as your other books & now I anxiously await the follow up. I'll never doubt you again!

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  17. Oh my gosh, great start! I can't wait to read more! :)

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  18. I def shouldn't have read this! I can't wait to read the rest. Another long night of reading! I can already tell this will be another book I will read in one night! Just like the rest of your books. Love it!!

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  19. Your writing is intoxicating. It leads to addiction, and for once there is no shame in that.

    Kara

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  20. Thanks for sneak peek! Can't wait for the book to come out!!

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  21. Wow, girl. That's a pretty intense beginning. I can't wait until it comes out!

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  22. I have been waiting on this book for awhile now!! I am re-reading Hollowland to get ready for it!! Thank you for the teaser... I can not wait! soooooo excited!! You are amazing! Thank you thank you!!!!

    Stephanie

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  23. Oh my god! That was really good, wicked but good. I can't wait for the book to come out.

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  24. Intense!! You're awesome!

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  25. I have been so anxious for the sequel, every since I read Hollowland. You've got this 61 year old YA spellbound.

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  26. Thanks so much for the sneak peek! Loved it. Cant wait for the book.

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  27. Oh man, that was a good start to the book, can't wait to find our who was calling her name, such a tease Amanda!!!

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  28. Oh my gosh, this was so freaking amazing! I forgot how amazing your stories were! (Last time I read them was spring, curse me!)

    I really hope you keep prices pretty low (not to sound selfish and greedy or whatever, lol) But b/c I can't afford a lot of more expensive books and it'd be a shame not being able to buy yours! I guess I'd have to make an exception cause I might die if I don't read Hollowmen. =)

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  29. I. NEED. THIS. BOOK. RIGHT. NOW. OTHERWISE. I. MIGHT. TURN. INTO. A. ZOMBIE.

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  30. Why wouldn't they use anasthetics?

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  31. Intense! That excerpt was pretty freakin amazing.

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  32. Great first chapter - but I'll be honest, wish I was a little prepped - JUST finished dinner and vomited a little bit.

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  33. Ok, it worked . I want it NOW...Grrr............

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  34. Now that was one of the more amazing beginnings I've ever read, to any book. I feel a bit queasy, but also excited. Can't wait to read the whole thing!

    "Plus, I’d never been that great of a seamstress." Best line ever, in the context. I ROFLd and almost vomited at the same time. :-)

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  35. This would make the greatest, most excellent opening scene to a badass movie. I cannot wait to read the rest of it!!

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  36. Thank you for making your book Hollowland (The Hollows #1) free! I loved reading the excerpt to your new book in the series which prompted me to look up the first one. I think you are a great writer, Thank you for your stories.

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  37. HOLY HELL! I can no longer wait for your books, I love them sooo much eek waiting for Hollowmen and swear can not wait much longer. I will turn into a vampire hunter zombie vampire!
    luv ya so much,
    KB

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  38. OMG, why the heck did I read this!!! I need this book ,like right meow.

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  39. So since we're all about zombies around here this month, how about we take the next step and give them legal rights?

    onthebird.blogspot.com

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  40. awesome halloween treat!!

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  41. Wow!!! I can't wait to read the rest of the book. Thanks Amanda!

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  42. MORE!!! So I'm guessing Tatum or Lazlo called her name??? Can't wait to find out the rest!

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  43. I could not wait any longer!!! I tried to hold off reading this cuz I knew once I read it I would want to kno what happened....... But that didn't work! I seen it then left with out reading it and came back 2 hours later and read it. Lol I'm weak.!! Amanda your books are amazing I have read every one and I love them all!!!!!!!!

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  44. You tease! I so want this book RIGHT NOW!

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  45. Please tell us more!!!! I want the person who called her name to be Lazlo so badly!!!!!

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  46. I should not have read that. I love it so much, and now the pain of waiting longer is awakened once more. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading the entire thing the day it's out!

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  47. I need this book! Call your editor and tell him to hurry up ;)

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  48. Loved the first. Can't wait!

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  49. Ok.You should be ashamed for teasing us. Let's get on with book 2 please.

    Robin

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  50. Gruesome and AWESOME. I am writing a novel, and we have similar tastes with detail of blood and gore. :)

    I hope it is Tatum calling out her name!

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  51. I cannnnot wait to read this!!!! LAZLO <3

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  52. Wasn't the next blog supposed to be out the twenty-sixth?

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  53. WOW!! Can't wait!!

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  54. I'd never sampled your writing before. I'll be honest and say I was skeptical. But boy, am I sold.

    Brava.

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  55. So, it was obviously Tatum who called her, and there must have been Zombies, but not in the building I don't think, And OMG!!!! She had sewn up her own stomach! It's so awful what they did to her, I didn't think it'd be that bad! What a wonderful gruesome story!

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  56. I so can't wait for the new book to come out. I wish I knew how long she's been held before they rescued her...I HATE WAITING!! lol.

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  57. I ready for it now please!! Hollowland may be my favorite of all your books. I need the next!

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  58. Ugh Amanda Please Please Please tell me when the book Is supposed to come out. I really want to know. I've read every single book so far and LOVE THEM. Keep writing please.

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  59. That's an awesome opening chapter, Amanda! From the first line, even. Excellent work. Gonna be cool.

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  60. Ms.Hocking... Please... Please
    Im going on a 10 hour train journey and I must entertain myself with something so amazing (unlike HW!) Please release it soooon :)

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  61. I just finished Hollowland last night and it blew me away...loved it...now today to read what they are doing to her wow made my stomach hurt...Your an amazing author can not wait to finish reading this...hurry...

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  62. Oh my gosh, reading this has made me even more excited for the book! I can't wait!

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  63. Where's the other posts, Amanda? =(

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  64. I think you should put in a reason why they didn't give her painkillers. Also, did they do that to Max? How does she feel about that?

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  65. Love it! I'm so excited about reading the rest of it, you have no idea.

    Trying to patiently wait. Trying!

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  66. When will it be out today? I can't wait!! The first book was amazing!

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  67. I need this book, or at least an update about it like right meow!

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  68. I am so anxious about the release of this book I have read Hollowland 3 times now. I was hoping to read Hollowmen tomorrow on my way to Hawaii but alas I will have to wait. Maybe it will be released in time for my return to Alaska next week.

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  69. When, when, when, will this book be released? I can't wait!

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  70. OMG I cannot wait for this book to come out! I read the "my blood approves" series and I totally had to get your other books! The hollowmen is going to be amazing, I just know it! Keep writing!! This waiting is kiling me!

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  71. It's Tatum calling her. As much as I'd like it to be Lazlo, I'm going with the more realistic answer. What can I say? I'm a realist. And after I read this, I felt like throttling someone. Please, Amanda, as your humbly devoted reader, PLEASE tell me Remy gets back her bad ass mofo fighting skills. It's all I ask. And, OH, let's make this series a movie franchise. We'll kick those Twi-Hards right off the Box Office. I smell an Oscar!

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  72. I hope all is well with you!

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  73. Its about time this book hit the shelfs for real! Oct 5th Goodreads sent me an email I got hyped and then let down now another month and another email and still no book! ARGHARGH

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  74. Wow Amanda what a great start plz don't keep us waiting much longer. I've ready and love most of your books but I have to say this is the best. Thanks for the great books you keep giving us. But PLZ don't keep us wait much longer.

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  75. FINALLY!!!!! Cant wait for this to come out!!!

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  76. OK so when the heck are you going to put out book 5 for my blood approves? Starting to getting discourage and thinking you won't.

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  77. I have read all your books. I loved Hollowland it is my fave book!!! Can't wait for this one, looks just as good :)

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  78. Gripping first chapter! Looking forward to reading the rest soon. :)

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  79. Riveting. I haven't read the first book yet, but now I will! You are such a good writer! I've read all of your books, except Hollowland and now I will. I started to read your books on my kindle app on my phone at home before I went to sleep about a year ago. (before you became famous :)) In January I graduated to a Nook Color and now all I do is read. (In between going to work, taking care of kids/husband/pets/house etc.) That being said, KEEP ON WRITING!

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  80. Why did I read this I just want to read the resT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are the best author I now! BTW When is this coming out

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  81. I read Hollowland back in I think about March and Ive re-read it so many times I lost count. Please publish it soon as i dont think i can actually wait any longer. You say it will be early next week so please let that be true because its my birthday and that would be the best. I cannot wait!!! One of my favourite books ever.

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  82. THAT.... WAS.... AWESOME!!!!

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  83. Does the fact that it's still with the editor mean it will probably be coming out closer to the winter of 2011...?
    Please say no. I let a friend borrow my Hollowland book a year ago and still haven't gotten it back, so now I'm wondering if she plans on returning it at all. Now it seems that I have to wait for this book if I ever wanna read about Remy again

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  84. I need this book ,so hurry up .
    I loved hollowland and can't wait for Hollowmen.
    Oh and I loved the first chapter of hollowmen .
    SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!

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  85. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!! I can't wait to get Hollowmen! Thank you soooo much, Amanda for making your books so affordable! Not to mention fantastic! ha SO EXCITED!

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  86. IN LOVE ALREADY!! cant wait!

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  87. "Please. Let’s postpone this. [...] “Okay, if we have to do this, can you just give me a warning?”...


    This may be paranormal fiction, but you're awfully light about doctors committing murder. It's as if you're desensitized to any resemblance to reality, what people have actually done to others. Have you or your peers read about the Holocaust? Ever visited the Holocaust museum in D.C.?

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  88. A holy church, rings, a bouquet, a 3-floor wedding cake, lace wedding dress champagne, and the moving promise “ I do”, make up the happiest moment in one’s life. Then it is the wedding.
    lace wedding gowns
    A gorgeous wedding dress has been inside a girl’s dream since she was five years old. It is widely said that the bride is the most beautiful woman all over the world.
    Bridal gowns vary in different parts of the world. For example, cheap wedding dresses plus sizein traditional Chinese culture, the color red is regarded for centuries as the symbol of good luck; while in the Occident, wedding dresses 2012 a full-length white wedding dress is always associated with romance and sanctity. But, with the globalization, wedding dresses tend to be alike in the whole world.

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  89. please tell me you are planning on making a third book

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  90. I just read somewhere on here that you are working on the graphic novels for The Hollows so that the 3rd installment in novel form is not a high priority and I would just like to say that that blows. Not everyone likes reading graphic novels.

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