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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Q & A (The A Part)

First up, I'd like to remind everybody that Virtue is currently for sale for the Kindle. I published it for the Nook and the Kindle at the same time, but it's still not up at Barnes & Noble yet. I'm not sure why not, but it should be up soon (hopefully, tomorrow). Meanwhile, it is for sale at Smashwords in formats supported by the iPad, Kobo, Nook, etc. of you'd like to check out it there. 

Eric and I finally got the vlog  up. It took three different takes, and lots and lots of time uploading. It's longer than I'd originally wanted (ending up at about 14 minutes), and I didn't even answer all the questions you guys asked. Thanks to everybody for all the great questions, and if you guys like this, we might try it again later.



P.S. This is the super awesome shirt I'm wearing in the video that you can't really see:

P. P. S. When Eric says, "Did they call him a question, and ask him Brad?" at the beginning, he meant to say, "Did they ask him a question, and call him Brad?" And that's really, really funny to me.

P. P. P. S. The reference to "Inside the Actor's Studio" doesn't make any sense because Eric had asked me ten questions from the show, but the video ran way too long, so we cut out the questions. So yep.

Friday, May 27, 2011

UPDATED: Virtue is on the Way!

I published Virtue to Amazon and Barnes & Noble a few hours ago. I also uploaded the paperback version, but that won't be proofed and ready for like a week or so. Amazon and Barnes & Noble should be for sale sometime within the next 24-48 hours.


UPDATED: Virtue is already for sale at Amazon! 



Eric and I will be doing the vlog that answers your questions tomorrow (Saturday) and uploading it sometime that day.






Virtue
A Fairy Tale

In a world filled with magic, love might be the final answer in the eternal battle between good and evil. When Lux is tasked with retrieving the virtuous Lily for his master, his entire world is put in jeopardy. Lux must battle goblins, demon dogs, and sea dragons to rescue the one he loves, and that's only the beginning of what he must face... 

Virtue is a fairy tale for young adults with action, suspense, and romance. It contains mild language and some suggestive dialogue. Recommended ages 14 and up.

Click here to read an excerpt
Click here to listen to the soundtrack


In the meantime, I thought I would leave you with some fun facts about Virtue:


-I created the characters of Beeze and Cifer for the fantabulous actor Doug Jones to play in the movie version (because there will be a movie version)
-Virtue is a stand-alone novel. There will be no sequels.
-It's Eric's favorite book of mine and he won't stop talking about how awesome it is
-While researching things for the book, I'm pretty sure I accidentally summoned a demon that lived in our old house (see: My Roommate, Buer)
-There's a unicorn in it. Because I love unicorns.
-I listened to "Sandalwood" by Lisa Loeb a lot when I started writing it. But I think the song "Cosmic Love" by Florence + the Machine fits best. 
-I just now asked Eric what are some other fun facts I can say about Virtue, and Eric said, "Every character was based on Eric." So... that's not true.

But at any rate, Virtue is a lot of fun, and if you enjoyed Switched and Hollowland, you'll probably like it. And I hope you check it out. I'll be sure to post whenever it officially goes up for sale, but like I said earlier, it should be within the next day or two.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Q & A (The Q Part)

My good friend/platonic lifemate/assistant Eric and I were talking the other day. He's obsessed with Rosie O'Donnell, and she has a feature on her blog called "Ask Ro." Ever since I've had a blog, Eric has been suggesting that I have an "Ask Mandy" feature. (That last part makes more sense when you know that he and Barry Manilow call me "Mandy.")

Anyway, I have new book coming out next week. (A fun fairytale called Virtue. For more info on it, click: here.) So I thought now would be a good time to try out the "Ask Amanda" thing. Or "Ask Mandy," if you prefer. I've never much cared what people call me. I'm not like Bradley Cooper and insist you call me "Bradley" even though I'm an adult male.

Here's how the "Ask Amanda" thing will work:

In the comments section of this very blog, you write a question. If it's profane or illegible, I won't answer it. If it asks for a spoiler (i.e. how will the last My Blood Approves book end?), then I won't answer it. Otherwise pretty much everything is fair game.

You have until Thursday, May 26th at midnight (central time) to ask a question. Then on Friday, Eric and I will go through the questions and pick some to answer. We'll just pick them based on whatever strikes our fancy. (Note: Eric's fancy will probably have a larger pull than my fancy, since he's very excited about this).

Then sometime either on Friday or Saturday, Eric and I will make a video blog (a vlog, if you will) with the answers to the questions. Why a video? I don't know. It's something that Rosie used to do, and apparently, it's important to the whole "Ask Ro" theme.

I'm not sure how many questions we'll answer (and Eric will be helping answer, so feel free to direct questions to him). I guess it depends on how many questions you ask and how long it takes me to answer. We'll probably spend about 5 or 10 minutes answering them, because any longer than that feels like something I would fast forward through.

So there you have it. Ask away!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The 25 Songs I'm Listening to Right Now

  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - "Beat the Devil's Tattoo"
  • Arcade Fire - "We Used to Wait"
  • The Beatles - "Eleanor Rigby"
  • Elliott Smith - "Miss Misery"
  • Vampire Weekend - "Giving Up the Gun"
  • The Beatles - "Can't Buy Me Love"
  • Black Mountain - "Hair Song"
  • Rogue Wave - "Lake Michigan" 
  • Hugo - "99 Problems"
  • Foster the People - "Pumped Up Kicks"
  • The Beatles - "Baby, You're a Rich Man"
  • Ida Maria - "Bad Karma"
  • The Beatles - "You've Really Got a Hold On Me"
  • The Raconteurs - "Salute Your Solution"
  • Mumford & Sons - "The Cave"
  • Ra Ra Riot - "Can You Tell"
  • Led Zepplin - "When the Levee Breaks"
  • Pete Torn - "Lose You"
  • Amos the Transparent - "Greater Than Consequence"
  • Nirvana - "Marigold"
  • The Raconteurs - "Carolina Dreams"
  • The Civil Wars - "Barton Hallow"
  • Peter Gabriel - "My Body is a Cage"
  • The Black Keys - "Howlin For You"
  • Band of Skulls - "Fires"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Few Random Things...

I just realized that I never blogged about the interview I had on Better TV. But I'm doing it now. Back in February, Rhiannon Ally with the syndicated show Better came and did a piece on me. She was incredibly nice (as was her camera man), and I thought it turned out really great.

Also, I need to give a shout out to Kyle who runs the Coffee House on Main where we filmed this. (He's also on the beginning of the video explaining what a Monkey Mocha is). He was incredibly gracious letting us film there, and he's let me do about a hundred interviews there. He's a super nice guy, and he makes the greatest iced latte in the history of iced lattes. So if you're ever in Austin, MN go to the Coffee House on Main, order a iced latte with raspberry syrup, and give Kyle a really big tip. You won't regret it.

Here's the video for Better TV:




And I just found about this - http://heathersauction.blogspot.com. There's a ton of cool stuff to bid on - from getting business cards made to a book autographed by Kristen Chenowith. All the proceeds go to help Heather, who's been sick for sometime. I urge you to check it out.

In fun news, Black Lab - the band behind the beautiful music in the trailer for Letters to Elise - is currently having a contest to make a video for the new single "This Ship Goes Down Deep" (awesome song, by the way). If you'd like to enter, check out their site for details: here.

Tomorrow, I'm meeting with people from St. Martin's Press, and we're going to be talking about things in regards to my books. I'm pretty excited. If I learn anything fun that you guys will enjoy hearing, I'll definitely pass it along. I do think I get to see some ideas for covers for the Trylle Trilogy for when St. Martin's releases it next year, but I can't really share that with you. At least not yet.

Oh, and thanks for all the Figaro and Delaney love on the blog yesterday. They appreciated it, even if they are fish and don't understand human emotions. Or English.

I'm ending with this song, which is my new favorite thing. I dare you to listen to it and not get it stuck in your head.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Figaro & Delaney

As you may have heard (or most likely, as you have not heard), my fish - Bruce & Wayne - died. I'm not entirely sure why they died, but Bruce had gotten black marks on his fins, so I think it may have been some kind of ick or fungus or something like that.

But I will not be detered on my quest to have pets that are fish that don't die. So I went out and got all new stuff - new rocks, new tank, the works. My other tank was a hand-me-down from my mom, and I'm not sure if there was some kind of bacteria in there. To be safe, I thought I should start from scratch.

I also got lots of fish medicine, so if the fish do get sick, I'm on top of it. And I got a goldfish owner's manual. I set up the tank the yesterday, because it told me I should let the tank sit for 24-hours before adding fish.

Today I got my new fish. One is a calico goldfish, and the other is a fantail goldfish. They are pretty, and they will live forever.

Here is a short film I made about them:



Also, I made a trailer for Virtue the other day. If you haven't seen it, here it is: watch.

And I want to thank Daniel Arenson for his guest post last week and everybody for chiming in. Dragons are fun. Especially Falcor.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Who is the Greatest Dragon?

My good friend Daniel Arenson just released a new book called Blood of Requiem (Requiem Fire, Book 1), which is available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble


Not only does it have a ridiculously awesome cover, it's about dragons. For those of you in the know, I secretly love dragons (and a dragon makes a special appearance in my soon-to-be-released novel Virtue). It's in celebration of all things fire-breathing and bad-ass that Daniel came up with this fantastic guest blog.


Who is the Greatest Dragon?

Fantasy is full of these scaly, fire-breathing beasts. They are arguably the genre's most emblematic creature. But who is the greatest among them, the toughest and baddest?

Here I rank the world's top ten dragons from film, literature, and legend. (To be fair, I won't rank the dragons of my own creation – those who inhabit my novel Blood of Requiem – though they are pretty tough.)

Who wins the coveted number one slot? Read on to find out!


Ten: Norbert

Hagrid's little dragon is just too cute to rank any higher. She does bite Ron Weasley's finger, which makes her somewhat tough, so she still gets a mention on the list. Hopefully Norbert (AKA Norberta) is still living happily in Romania.


Nine: Saphira

This dragon from Eragon is like a loyal dog, or maybe a younger sister. Friendly, cute, and nice to have around. But not very threatening.


Eight: Pete's Dragon

At first glance, he's a harmless cartoon. He's goofy. He has purple hair. And he stars in a children's movie. How tough could he be? Well, tougher than he seems. He managed to fight off Pete's mean hillbilly relatives. He flew through a storm to kindle a lighthouse. And he became a hero to countless kids. You wouldn't want to mess with Pete's dragon.


Seven: Smrgol

Smrgol, from the animated film Flight of Dragons, is an even tougher cartoon dragon. He's old, battle-hardened, and wise. He also befriends a human named Peter – only this Pete is trapped in another dragon's body. Smrgol ends his life in an epic battle, managing to defeat the evil Ogre of Gormley Keep. Smrgol was definitely a tough, noble dragon.


Six: Daenerys's dragons

At this point in A Song of Ice and Fire (book five is not yet released), Daenerys's dragons are still small. But they show potential for growing big. Very big. Maybe even big enough to win the coveted Iron Throne. Right now, they're only ranked sixth, but they have potential for rising higher in the list in years to come.


Five: Trogdor

He burninates the countryside. He's made of an S and a different S. He's hilarious to those who know him, utterly perplexing to those who don't. Maybe it's all those thatch roofs he burned. Maybe it's his beefy arm. Whatever the reason, he makes the Top Five for toughest dragons.


Four: Smaug

Perhaps the world's most famous dragon, Smaug influenced countless dragons who followed. He sits on a mountain of jewels and gold. He terrorizes hobbits and dwarves. He stars in a fantasy novel that changed the world. He's one mean dragon.


Three: Takhisis

Takhisis has enchanted and terrified a generation of fantasy geeks. In her human form, she's a beautiful temptress. In her dragon form, she has five heads. She's also a goddess, powerful enough to torture Raistlin himself. Smaug might be tough, but Takhisis could probably kill him without breaking a sweat.



Two: St. George's Dragon

Painted, sculptured, illustrated -- St. George's dragon has inspired artists and storytellers for centuries. He is the ultimate dragon of legend. He's the granddaddy of all dragons. If even Shakespeare wrote about him, you know he's tough.


One: Falcor



Falcor, the luckdragon from The Neverending Story, inspired a generation. Countless children in the 1980s gawked at this pink, doglike creature and dreamed of riding him. True, Falcor sometimes seemed more canine than dragonish. And true, despite his wisdom and pacifism, he's kind of a jerk at the end when he chases those kids into a garbage bin. But Falcor was more than just a dragon. In many ways, he defined a decade. Because the 1980s were like Falcor--they were pink, they were fluffy, and they were a flying doglike luckdragon. There's no denying it. For all his fluffiness, Falcor is a cultural icon, and he tops the list for greatest dragon.

For more information about Daniel Arenson, his dragon epic Blood of Requiem, any of his other fabulous fantasy novels, or writing tips, check out his website at:  www.danielarenson.com

Sunday, May 8, 2011

life isn't the same without Christian Bale

Sigh....

This is a picture of my office from at my old house:



This is a close up the fantastic Christian Bale poster that my mom got me (from France, oddly enough):



In the process of moving, it was torn. I left it behind. I can only assume it is in the garbage somewhere. So now I don't have Christian Bale staring at me, looking vaguely disapproving.

I wanted the poster as a motivational tool, and it really did work. In my mind, Christian Bale is like the human incarnation of perfection. People always take that to mean that I find him really attractive, when I don't, and I am in fact slightly terrified of him. But fear is a very good motivation.

It's just anything he wants to do it, he does it, even if it seems impossible. Anything less than perfect isn't good enough. But he always manages to achieve it, which is what I find so stunning about him. It's like he's invincible.

Anyway - the moral is, when I think, "I don't want to write this chapter right now. I'd rather be watching Archer or reruns of Income Property on HGTV." Then I would look up and see Christian Bale, and I'd be all, "He wouldn't go watch Archer. He'd write like 15 chapters tonight, while doing push ups, and learning Japanese." And then I sigh and go back to work, because that's what Christian Bale would do.

So I need a new poster. I've looked at other Christian Bale posters and they're not good enough. I can mostly find Batman ones, which oddly enough, drives me nuts.

Here's a random blog from last year where I end up talking about how Christian Bale is better than our government, for no apparent reason. I'm sharing it with you, because I like it, and I like to share things. So you can read that: here.

Friday, May 6, 2011

New Book!

Okay. Here's the deal. I've been waiting to break the news to you guys until I had everything squared away, and you might be upset at first, but honest, this is really good news.

Here's the bad part: I'm not going to be releasing Lost Without You. I'll explain more about that in a minute.

Because the really good news is that I'm going to be releasing Virtue in it's place, and Virtue is about a million times better than Lost Without You. I wanted to be sure that Virtue would be ready for release this month before I announced it, and it will be out by Memorial Day.

AND I updated the Upcoming Projects tab to include all the books I'm releasing in the next year (including the release dates for Hollowmen and Swear.)

The thing is - Lost Without You sucks. I wrote it like seven years ago, and I have a really strong emotional attachment to it for a a couple reasons. So I was blinded by how terrible it was until I was editing. When I started talking about publishing it, I didn't realize how bad it was.

It really wasn't until a couple weeks ago that I was going through it for the fifteenth time when I was like, "Wait. This is really quite bad. I can't force this horrible mess on people."

And I know. I shouldn't announce projects until they're absolutely ready to be published, because things can change. But it's hard when people are like, "What's next?" And I think, "Alright, what am I thinking of next? I don't know. How about this book?" And then people start asking me questions and getting all excited about it.

The problem is that I keep forgetting that people actually want to read my books now and care about when they come out. I'm used to talking to myself and nobody giving a damn. It's quite an adjustment.

But back to the good news (and trust me, this really is good news): Virtue will definitely be out by the end of the month. Eric claims its the best thing I've ever written and the most engaged he's ever been in a story. So... that's something. Also, I got to work a unicorn into the storyline, which is something I've wanted to do since the day I was born.

So, you're asking yourself, what is this Virtue you speak of?

Well, here's the basic idea: I wanted to write a fairy tale. Also, I wanted to write a book that if it had a film adaptation, it would require the work of the Jim Henson Company. But it's a fantasy with romance and action and good vs. evil and a unicorn.

Here's all the info:

Virtue
A Fairy Tale

In a world filled with magic, love might be the final answer in the eternal battle between good and evil. When Lux is tasked with retrieving the virtuous Lily for his master, his entire world is put in danger. Lux must battle goblins, demon dogs, and sea dragons to rescue the one he loves, and that's only the beginning... 

Virtue is a fairy tale for young adults with action, suspense, and romance. It contains mild language and some suggestive dialogue. Recommended ages 14 and up.

Click here to read an excerpt
Click here to listen to the soundtrack

Coming Memorial Day 2011!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

And Yet Another Announcement...

Here's the press release that went out today:

Self-publishing phenomenon Amanda Hocking's USA Today bestselling TRYLLE trilogy, three young adult paranormal novels that the author previously published as ebooks, again to St. Martin's, for publication in both print and ebook starting in Winter 2012. 

So what does that mean for you, the reader? 
If you've already read the series, it doesn't change a whole lot. It'll just make it easier to get a paperback, if you want one, because the books will be in stores. If you haven't read the series, it will make it easier for you to find, and the books will have fewer errors.

What does this mean for the Trylle Trilogy? 
It will get a bit more polished with some editing (but don't expect the story to change. It will stay the same. It'll just be cleaner). The books will be more readily available for the people unable to find them and for the majority of the populace that doesn't have ereaders. And having paperback books stores, with publishing house sales behind it, will help ensure that the movie adaptation gets made.

Will the prices of the ebooks go up?
To be honest, probably, yes. I've talked with St. Martin's, and it sounds like they're going to keep the prices down from usual ebook prices. But because they are a major company with overhead costs, they can't really afford to price books at $.99. I will still be self-publishing the trilogy for the next few months at their current prices, though, so there is plenty of time for people to get them. Paperback prices will be about the same as what they are now, though, and that's a good thing.


So, why would I choose to sell a series of books that's already doing so well on their own?
Three reasons:

1. The movie. As soon as Terri Tatchell started talking to me back in January about a possible film adaptation, I knew I wanted to get the trilogy in stores. It needed to be selling in major outlets with a big publisher to back it so it would give a movie studio the confidence to green light the project. Getting this series turned into a movie would be a dream come true for me, and I've heard from a lot of readers who would be really excited to see a film version, too.

2. The readers. It's two-fold for you guys.
  • One part is because of the messages I get from people all the time who don't have ereaders and they want to read my book. Having paperbacks in stores will make it much easier to reach people I've been unable to until now. 
  • The other part is a proper editing. That's not to knock the people I've worked before, and I have a really great editor going over Hollowland. But I know there are errors that need to be corrected and things that can get smoothed over in the series. I want them to be the best they can be, and hopefully, my editor at St. Martin's can do that. People will get to read the Trilogy the way it was meant to be read. I think of it as going from a standard TV to HD. It's still the same product - it just looks better.

3. I don't know how to phrase this exactly, but I want to see what the books can do. The Trilogy has been selling really well in a small portion of the market, and I don't want to limit the books. I want to see what will happen if they have opportunity to reach the full potential audience.

If you've read the Trylle Trilogy and you liked the them, this is good news. Libraries will be more likely to carry my books. The movie will be more likely to get made. If you want to get your friends or family the books as gifts, it will be easier for you to find them.

If you haven't read the books and you want to, there's still time to get them at their current prices in their current form. And if you don't get them within the next couple months, they'll be back out in in early 2012, only with less errors, so it's still a win for you.

If you haven't read my books and don't want to, or you have read them and you hate them, then really it doesn't affect you at all. There's still plenty of other books out there for you to read and enjoy.

And that's what I have to say about that stuff.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Insert Witty Blog Title Here

Some fun stuff:

I got a message from Paul Durham the band Black Lab today. I use their hit song "This Night" in the book trailer for Letters to Elise, and he likes it. But he also wanted me to let people know about their big radio launch for their new album Two Strangers (which I bought months ago, because it's awesome, and you should buy it too).

So, you can get "This Night":  here  and learn more about the band here: http://blacklabworld.com And you really should. I've mentioned them before on my blog because they really are an excellent band. Check out the song "Ten Million Years" if you haven't yet.


And here's the trailer for the video, with "This Night" on it: 




Also in fun news:


I took a fan made quiz for Hollowland on Goodreads, and I totally got one wrong. Some of the questions were hard. If you want to see if you can beat my score, check it out: here.


On a related note, hopefully within the week, I'll have a blog announcing release dates for a bunch of books, including Hollowmen (the sequel to Hollowland) and Swear (the final book in the MBA series).


And this song is my current obsession (at least for today).

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Digs!

This is going to be a blog that contains both pictures AND words, which I think is the best kind of blog. I'm officially back to work. We are completely moved out of our old house, and our new house is almost entirely furnished. (Aside from a broken mirror and a missing nightstand).

Eric fixed the internet this weekend (WOOT!), my office got painted on Thursday, and my wonderful family came over on Saturday and slaved away all day helping me and Eric put together our desks. I just finished getting everything put away, so I finally have a space that I'm comfortable writing in in this house.

Anyway - as I said earlier, my family came over to help assemble my office and work on other stuff around the house. This was my mom, my step-dad, my aunt Cindy, my cousin Tina, her husband Corey, and their two kids Leyton and Miley, who are four and three.

Not only did they help me do work (MAJOR SHOUT OUT to all of them - they did a ton and really made my house feel like a home), but they came bearing gifts. Leyton and Miley brought these wonderful guys for me:

Bruce & Wayne

That's Bruce and Wayne. Bruce is the white one with spots, and Wayne is the orange one. They're currently living in the kitchen, because I'm afraid that I'll forget to feed them if they're in the office, since I probably won't be in the office every day. But they would make the office better.

I keep wanting to call them Kyle and Steve because my friend Fifi used to have two goldfish named Kyle and Steve that I was obsessed with. But they died a long time ago, and it was very sad.

And without further ado, here is the magic of my new office:

Where the Magic Happens (er... Will Happen)

My Desk

River Phoenix Poster

Heroes in a Half Shell

Eric's Half of the Office

My Dog, Elroy

Oh, and for those of you wondering about this, I have the explanation:

It's not ready yet, because I'm still getting it formatted, but it's a limited edition omnibus paperback edition of the Trylle Trilogy. I will only be selling 100 of them, and I will be selling them directly through my blog. All of them will be autographed and numbered. All of the proceeds from the Special Edition Trylle Trilogy will go to the Jacob Wetterling Foundation. The omnibus will be available in paperback only.

After this, I will stop selling autographed books from my blog. It's gotten to be too complicated and too time consuming. I wanted to do this as one last hurrah, and readers have been asking for a boxset. I found a boxset to be cumbersome to make, but an omnibus edition worked since it is only three books.

Also, I kinda wanted to do something special because that is my good friend Pete on the cover. She was the original cover model for the first copy of Switched that came out last July.
 
The cover changed, but not because Petey isn't the prettiest girl in the world (because she is). So I wanted to do something with her, and Claudia at phatpuppyart.com was kind enough to work with the image for me. And I love it.

I do have more news coming this week. But that's enough for today. And I am soo, soo glad to be back.