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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More Human Than Human

I didn't really go to college. I mean, I kinda did. We have a community college in town, and the first time I went for a semester, I took like 9 or 12 credits or something, and I only went to one class or maybe I didn't go to any of them. I don't remember any more, but the good news is that I finally paid off my student loan for that.

The second time I went to college I was much more committed. But I was working two jobs, working around 60-70 hours a week, and I tried to take a full course load on top of that. I went to all my classes for the first two months, but by month three, I was too burnt out and only went to my English class.

And thus ended my college experience.

Well, sorta. I had a couple friends who were in college, and I used to write papers for them all the time. I don't know why exactly. My friends aren't idiots and could probably write great papers themselves. They didn't pay me for them or anything either. I just liked doing the paper to see what kind of grades I could I get, I guess.

I don't actually know what my incentive was, actually. I just know that I did them. I don't remember all of them, but I wrote a couple choice ones for Eric. One was about censorship, and the other was about drug testing in the pharmaceutical industry. Eric got an A on both papers.

My absolutely favorite paper I've ever written in my entire life was for my friend Fifi. She was in some movie class. I don't really know why or what it was about anymore, but they had to watch movies and discuss them and write papers on them.

Her assignment was to watch the movie Blade Runner, and if I recall correctly, she tried watching it but she kept falling asleep during it. To which, I freaked out on her several times, saying things like, "Blade Runner is amazing! How can you sleep through that?" Eric defended her by saying that it gave him BillyBobThorntonitis*

(*BillyBobThorntonitis is the made up name for a real condition that both Eric and I suffer from, although for Eric it's much more severe. Basically, it's the feeling you get when you're watching a film, particularly an old film, that makes you feel dirty and gross and just plain icky, so you don't want to watch it. Eric coined the term, because apparently, Billy Bob Thornton makes him feel that way, or more specifically, Slingblade made him feel that way. Had I named the condition, I would've called it DavidLynchitis.

As an aside, "itis" is a suffix meaning inflammation, so what Eric is actually is that he has an inflammation of the Billy Bob Thornton, which makes me picture Billy Bob with his head all red and swollen, and that makes me giggle.)

Anyway, back to the story. So Fifi can't/won't/doesn't want to watch Blade Runner. I love the movie, and I've actually read the book that it's based on (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, who I also love lots).

So I wrote this paper, and I titled it "More Human Than Human," mostly because as I was writing the paper, I had that White Zombie song stuck in my head the entire time. And it was a really good paper, and it got an A.

It bums me out, because I don't know where that paper is. Fifi probably threw it away, which makes sense, because most people don't hang onto their schoolwork for ten years, myself included. But I really loved that paper.

Now I want to go watch Blade Runner. And Total Recall. I could probably talk Eric into watching Total Recall but not Blade Runner, for the aforementioned reasons.

Also, what are your thoughts on the upcoming remake of Total Recall starring Colin Farrell? And the Ridley Scott Alien prequel/sequel/tie-in/reboot/? Prometheus. I'm cautiously excited about both. They both made it on my Summer Movie List (which is prestigious).

And as another aside to this rambling blog that really doesn't have much of a point whatsoever, many of books have small allusions to the works of Ridley Scott. I'm a big fan. Also, his name is Ridley, which is pretty sweet ass.

62 comments:

  1. LOL I loved your explanation of this "itis,"!

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    1. I only have one question for the author and that is if she is going to have anymore of here books published and sold in stores!!! ? Becouse I would like to buy them and not on line or for the stupid nook!!!

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  2. You know what's even more cool about his name being Ridley? Flip the 'd' upside-down... Yep, awesome easter-egg :)

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  3. Great post! If you are a writer, you really have a huge advantage in college. I once had to write a paper for a sociology class (it was, like, half the grade) and you were supposed to go somewhere that people hung out on a regular basis (think old people at a coffee shop) and observe them. You were supposed to go a bunch of times over several weeks and write down conversations, etc. It was a summer class. I went to the beach instead and made the entire paper up. I got a A. I still feel a little bad about that. But I looked at as creative writing practice. :)

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    1. I did the same thing in undergrad IT class, we were supposed to go scope out a store that sells computers. I did no such thing, made it up, and got an A. The teacher did have a few comments that alluded to possible doubts about whether or not I "went" however, still got an A. (If you are going to pull one over on a teacher, it's probably not going to be the IT teacher, more likely the marketing prof.) hhaaa.

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  4. I think those are two classic Sci-fi movies that will stand on their own, no matter how the modern remakes work out. I too am a bit put off at Fifi falling asleep to Blade Runner, but c'est la vie. Not everyone will love what should be. They're still cool people, I'm sure, just people that are missing out.

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  5. I can't say I remember Blade Runner. I remember Total Recall because it gave me nightmares as a child. I like Billy Bob Thorton, and how you described the disorder you made up is very funny. I've never thought to really look at him prior, and find it now to be understood. He is rather creepy looking, in a gross kinda way. But nevertheless he's a decent actor on that regard. They should stop remaking good movies. It's just wrong on many levels.

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  6. Once, I "helped" my best friend with one of her college papers, because she had this excellent assignment, to write a paper about the lyrics to a pop song. I was like, "Oh, crap, you HAVE to do 'Closer,' by Nine Inch Nails." I knew her professor. He was really cool, and I knew he could handle it, so I gave her thesis and the main points, but she basically wrote it.

    Anyway, I guess I knew the professor too well, because he was like, "Um, Valerie helped you with this, didn't she?" I must be distinctive or something, because every time I've attempted to write a paper for someone or "help" them with one, the teacher has always spotted my style.

    Now that I've been a high school teacher (although not a college professor), I think it's because most student papers are so dreadfully horrible, that when you read one by someone who's actually saying something that they actually thought of and in an engaging voice, you just slap an A on the thing because you're so freaking grateful. Ugh. Grading papers was like slow torture. When I collected papers, I used to pick out the two or three kids who always wrote well and put them aside. They were my "reward" papers. I'd be like, "Okay, I'll grade ten papers, and then I get to read Tyler's, because I know it will be good."

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  7. I LOVE TOTAL RECALL. I feel like it's fate that Arnie and I share the same birthday (month and day- not the year, obviously) because I love his movies soooooo much. I like to run around with outstretched arms going, "Quaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiid!" It freaks my husband out.

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  8. Amanda, I have recently discovered you. I enjoy your works and your blogging activities. One of the most famous Russian writers, Maxim Gorki, had never studied at a college. He called life itself "my universities"

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  9. I tried to find that paper a long time ago, but could not... I loved it as much as you. I kept telling you that as I was reading what you wrote. It was comparing "Blade Runner" to religion. <3

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    1. Oh, yeah. Do you still have that kids' story about Kyle & Steve? I should make copies of that.

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  10. That was a lot of fun. I actually prefer when writers blog about their real life rather than trying to pass off a bunch of writing advice or talk business.

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  11. "You are...
    what you do...
    when it counts..." The Masao

    Blade Runner--the movie and the novel--is about humanity and the human condition. Sometimes humanity is dirty and the human condition must rise above it.

    "What are you doing?" Roy Beaty, Blade Runner

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  12. Addition to my post above:

    I thought Blade Runner--both the movie and the book--was fantastic.

    The movie had excellent cinematography and I think it won an award or was at least nominated.

    And the book was thought provoking and well written.

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  13. Further addition to my post above:

    I love your blog, Amanda.

    I think it is great that you are helping people by sharing how you succeeded.

    It is so inspiring and ecouraging to see people succeed in an industry that is so hard to succeed at.

    J. A. Konrath and yourself are so wonderful in that you choose to show people how you made it, instead of keeping it to yourselves.

    Thanks Amanda. :)

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  14. Hmm, seems if you were more of a college girl you would've completed everything. Anyway, I love Blade Runner too. Prometheus has me interested but I didn't know about the remake of Total Recall. Hope it does well. It was fun reading your 'ramblings.'

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  15. Burned, not burnt. Should have finished English

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    1. I did finish Enlish. As I said in the blog, it was the only class in college I did finish. And I got an A in it. Later on, I went on to become a New York Times Bestselling author.

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    2. well, if you keep saying things like "Eric and me" instead of "Eric and I" no one will believe you.

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    3. Pfft everyone knows how smart me & Eric be.

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    4. I'm also really surprised you went after "Eric and me" and not the fact that I misspelled the word "English." But to each his own, I guess.

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    6. Love Amanda's first rebuttal. "Later on, I went on to become a New York Times bestselling author." And yeah, some people aren't great at editing. That's what editors are for. She's just writing a blog here...about herself. Chilllllllll

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  16. Are you considering going back to college? It's a great place to learn about all those things no one ever really tells you about: How to negotiate and learn the ways of the world, broaden your knowledge about all sorts of topics and meet new people.

    My brother is 35 and never went to college but just started going last year. And when I was going to college, a 80 year old guy had started taking classes just for fun after his wife died. Took him 10 years, but he graduated with our class. One is never too old to go back.

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  17. College can easily be potentially overrated. I graduated in 2009 with a B.A. in English and Criminal Justice and I can't say that anything I learned, other than living on my own and some maturity that came along with that, has really helped me in my career. My writing isn't better because of 50+ credit hours of English coursework and all the jobs I've had have trained me to do them so I haven't actually used any of my CJUS education (though both of those degrees have come in handy during debates and arguments, so maybe it was worth the $60,000...and that was just for a public university).
    Secondly, Blade Runner, fantastic movie. I have the four disk special edition with all the different directors cuts and I love it. I've also read the book and it's great. Remakes always scare me, but then again, I like the more recent Dune remake by the sci-fi channel than I do the original movie from the 80s, so sometimes they can be a good thing. I just approach them with a little hesitation.

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    1. I didn't see the Dune remake. I actually like the original, even though it's directed by David Lynch. I heard the remake was really good, tho.

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    2. The Dune remake is good as is Children of Dune. Worth checking out.

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    3. Yeah, definitely check it out. It's six hours long, which means it has a lot more time to explain a lot more of what the book talks about with Paul being the first male Bene Gesserit and what it really means to be the Kwisatz Haderach. And I just think that Alec Newman did a fantastic job as Paul. Children of Dune is also fantastic. Both are great movies for lit fans because they're very loyal to their source work.

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  18. "DavidLynchitis" is definitely the more appropriate term for this condition. (And I wondered if there was a White Zombie connection when I read the title of the blog.) Instead of re watching "Total Recall," watch "Unknown" with Liam Neesan. You'll understand why after you view the whole thing.(And another reason why I'm not excited at all for a Total Recall remake. Why does it need to be remade? Because Hollywood is run by marketers who don't care about storytelling or original ideas, they care about what sells and if it sold in the past, they logic, it will sell in the future. That's why "Inception" almost didn't make it past the pitch, it didn't already have a "brand" following and you couldn't market action figures and pajamas with it. But I digress...{and often too.}) Not excited about a "Total Recall" remake at all. But Prometheus on the other hand...that looks good. And if done right, will be excellent.

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    1. I did see "Unknown" & didn't care for it that much. I normally don't like remakes either, but I am strangely excited for the Total Recall remake. But that could just be because I enjoy Colin Farrell.

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  19. I actually really enjoy reading Amanda's blog. I really enjoy her sense of humor as well. However, to a Professor of English, her grammar can be quite annoying. Spelling blunders are forgivable, dreamnt, burnt, and the incorrect order of 'you and I' point to a person's education. If you are from Britain, all of the above are acceptable. She is not from Britain. As humans we must strive to be better, speak better, write better. So, do not use those horrific words and keep your educated readers happy.

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    1. I do strive to do better, which is why U went with a publisher on my books to get a better editing. I know the rules & I understand grammer, but when I'm writing, I miss stuff. My brain does weird things. Before I post a blog, I read through it 2 or 3 times for errors, then post. I'm aware that I do miss things, but I don't want to spend hours going over a blog or hiring editors to go over it. Not because I don't care or because I don't think proper English is important.

      As a fun fact, I actually am 50% British, so in high school I made the deliberate choice of using the British spellings like flavour & what have you. It was a phase, but I do still spell things that way accidentally sometimes. And sometimes I just spell things wrong.

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    2. There are an excessive amount of mistakes in that comment because I typed it on my phone & had a terrible time editing it. I apologize for that.

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    3. I can't believe that there are people who read your blog and then decide they MUST comment on grammatical errors?

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    4. On the British English comment, some people simply prefer the British spellings. My SO is all about the British spellings, probably because he read so many books by British authors in his childhood.

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  20. Wait. There's ANOTHER Total Recall coming out?

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  21. The comments here never fail to crack me up... ;) I often did "exchanges" while in college, where my friends would do my math homework and I'd write their papers. Fast forward to now - I'm working on a Masters in Management, and barely made it through my math courses lol! But I don't regret it. My best paper in college is also lost now, but it was all about Spontaneous Human Combustion (true story - it was for my Parapsychology course).
    Anyway, I linked to this post on my blog today: http://authorjess.blogspot.com/2012/03/whats-up-wednesday-bookish-things-other.html

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  22. 'More human than human' reminds me of a Chinese friend in school who was more American than Americans. She never spoke Chinese, even at home to her parents who were immigrants. She studied hard, and knew American history better than the other students, who just barely got by.

    Why? Because she appreciated the opportunity freedom and America provided, where not matter where your family came from, everyone can be an American.

    I'm not sure abut androids. I don't think androids are covered in the Constitution.

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  23. Hey Amanda: Your funny and fascinating "voice" shines through in your blog posts, and (as I'm sure you know) you don't have to listen to anyone who disses you because of his/her own grammatical perfectionism.

    One of the things that may happen in your long life (sorry, going into maternal mode here -- I'm old enough to be your mother) is that you will have great riches and grand success but because of that lack of a formal education might somehow feel a bit... less. Or not. But you might consider eventually getting that degree. Just for the sake of fun and knowledge. Now that you do have the funds and perhaps even the time. Can you imagine how cool it would be for a college to claim you as a student?

    I only say this, presumptuously, not knowing you at all, because I know folks who are many decades away from dropping out of school who have a little shame over it. And there's no need for that.

    So that's my insolent suggestion for the day.

    And P.S. Isn't it wild to think that Angelina Jolie used to be married to Billy Bob?! I guess she didn't suffer from the -itis. Or maybe she does now...

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  24. Dear Amanda, please don't be discouraged by people criticizing your spelling/grammar on here. I enjoy reading your blog posts, whether it's about writing or random topics, and although such grammar/spelling errors would usually irritate me in a book or a newspaper article, they don't seem important in a chatty blog. I mean, if your friend pounded out an email to you that had several misspellings in it, would you email them back with the corrections? No. You'd be happy to get an email from your friend. Goodness.

    However, if you're interested in college, you might consider taking part-time courses. I'm in a part-time writing program now, and I really enjoy it. You might find that taking one to three English or writing classes a semester would work better for you than what you've tried in the past. Seriously, if you're interested in further education, check out part-time programs. It's an under-appreciated opportunity :)

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  25. How about you lay off Amanda and her "heinous" grammatical errors. For crips sake it's a blog!
    Additionally I really hope they don't screw up the Total Recall remake.
    Oh and all you grammar-nazis feel free to comment on my atrocious grammar, unlike you I’m not perfect.

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  26. Amanda, I treasure it when your blogs have no point and lots of parenthetical references. When I read your blogs like this I know they are coming straight from the heart and that is what I love most about your writing. : )

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  27. Amanda, I treasure it when your blogs have no point and lots of parenthetical references. When I read your blogs like this I know they are coming straight from the heart and that is what I love most about your writing. : )

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  28. Given the way we critique blogs, I wonder how we ever communicate in person. If someone judged our spoken words by those same standards, I think we would soon have absolutely nothing to say to each other!

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  29. Ran Ban Aviator 3025 I come across your website by looking, i just want to say we keep it on my small book marks, thanks.RB3025

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  30. Nice blog! I will be following!

    https://twitter.com/#!/MemeDoctor

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  31. I'm sorry, but could someone tell me where to ask a question?
    I'll ask here for now; You use some swedish words (I'm swedish, that's why I ask), through the trylle series, why?

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    1. The mythology that Trylle is based on is Swedish, so in my mind, that's where the Trylle emigrated from, and so their language still retains some of it's original Swedish. I tried to vary the words a bit to make them slightly more slang-y.

      Also, in Minnesota, where I live and where the story takes place, there are a lot of people here from Scandinavia. So it fits in with the story too. ;)

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    2. Thank you, I love your books, I'm only 13 but they're so great and Loki (I thinks it's sounds a bit like Loke but more playful) is the best name ever!!! I love the slang, mänsklig to mänks, and they live in förening(with Ö). It was hard for me to pronounce Trylle as trill, though :)

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  32. Sounds like you got a DIY degree by writing the papers you wanted to.

    I feel about about the same with the upcoming remakes--cautiously excited. The movie that's on my radar right now is THE CABIN IN THE WOODS. I have high hopes for it and don't want to be let down.

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  33. I'm very sad by the way Australia has decided to release the books. We got the first one before everyone else, then the second only this month and now I have to wait for the last novel in May, I wish they'd do it every month, because I read them in a day. So it's a long wait...

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    1. I thought the books were coming out in Australia the same were in the UK, South Africa, Asia, and India - Switched in January, Torn in February, and the last book coming out on April 26, 2012. So it should be only a few more weeks until Ascend comes out!

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  34. I've already bought the trylle trilogy on my kindle so I was wondering if you could make a separate book with the additional stories in it. Please.

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  35. Love the first book. Getting ready to read the next.

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  36. Enjoy the books.

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  37. Just got back from Cape Town airport, South Africa. Nearly fell over the great display of your Trylle series in the doorway of the bookshop, so I bought all three --very excitedly so that the checkout lady knew what to recommend to travellers looking for something to read.

    Also, Don't get hung up on grammar on your blog. It is so fresh and spontaneous as it is, and I fear you might get all stiff, and eventually get bored with posting if you have to watch your P's and Q's.

    Also, I always felt somehow a little bit less than people who had been to college, so I went at the age of 49. Now I am awesomely educated and don't feel one iota cleverer than I did before.

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    1. Smart woman, Karen. I had a pal who went back in her thirties after dropping out (her Dad used to tell her she was dumb -- dumb him, he was an alcoholic). After she got her college degree, she got a Masters, then went on to teach English for 20 years. So I guess she's pretty smart now!

      Actually, she was always smart, just like you.

      Me, I have an English degree, a law degree, and a grad degree in vocal performance. I like school. But it don't make you no smarter... it just makes you more aware of other ideas that you might be exposed to while studying, and teaches you the accepted way things are done.

      Now I'm a novelist and a publisher... and I LOVE that!

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  38. Cautiously excited over Prometheus? For me that dickhead Speilberg all but destroyed my excitment for movies. I knew he'd fuck up Indy but I got excited anyway. What a let down. Tired of being let down by these assholes and if Prometheus goes the way I think it will I will bloody give up on cinema. I'm tired of hearing about humans in sci-fi, how something is about to wipe them out, how they brought evil upon themselves, how they started something that turned evil omfg shut up! I wanted Space Jockeys like every other Alien fan!

    Ridley is one of only a handful of people I refer to as 'the man'. I agree with you that he is a very groovy dude, and yes, Bladerunner is awesome pie. He better not have fucked things up.

    Excuse the random rant, off I go.

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  39. Hi I wanted to first say that I am a huge fan of yours and you amaze me. Your books are really Fantastic. I am 12 years old and from Austria Reichenau in Innsbruck. Abe I put into my head to write a vampire novel. Since you're such a great writer, I wanted to ask you whether you can give me some tips.
    lg Francesca

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  40. And i had another question did you write a noter Under the Vampiremon book ?

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