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4 Years Ago Today, THE SURVIVORS was born. (And GIVEAWAY!)

erica

Many of you many not know (or you all do because I talk way too much), but THE SURVIVORS was born on June 21, 2009 when I was driving to a dear friend's wedding in Tupelo, MS. Making today 4 years to the day of conception of possibly one of the greatest things in my life. Imagining a stiff and dark Sadie Matthau meeting a bright-eyed Cole Hardwick in the same room I was in – I was not so lucky! – inspired some type of creative energy that I'd been needing for a while. So, even though I have about a thousand more stories to tell and millions of words to write, Sadie and THE SURVIVORS holds a very special place in my heart. Which is one more reason why I'm so excited for the impending release of Body & Blood!

So, to celebrate I wanted to give away an ARC of Body & Blood. A whole month before it's released!!

Giveaway of Body & Blood ARCs on Goodreads!

erica

Hello all! 

We're about to hit the home stretch before BODY & BLOOD is released out into the world, which means, there are ARCs! So, there's a giveaway going on over at Goodreads for you to enter to win one of 5 Autographed ARCs of Body & Blood. Sound exciting? Go enter! 

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Body & Blood by Amanda Havard

Body & Blood

by Amanda Havard

Giveaway ends July 12, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Trailer for Body & Blood!

erica

This is a very exciting day for me as I finally get to share with you all a part of something incredibly magical. In January we decided to be film-makers. This trailer for Body & Blood is only one of the results to come from our week of filming and I promise you're going to enjoy them all. 

So, take a look at this exclusive scene adapted from the pages of Body & Blood, coming to you on July 23rd!

New Song Debut!! Here's PLAY NICE.

erica

Survivors! I’m so excited to share this song with you! It’s the official track for Point of Origin, and it’s called “Play Nice.” Recorded by the mega amazing Elle Maze, “Play Nice” is a song near and dear to my heart. When we set out to write this one, we wanted to capture the darkness and intensity of Point of Origin — of seeing the Winters in… winter, of the circumstances as they evolve in the second book from the first — and it does just that.

This one came about pretty organically though. Over a year ago, I got a line stuck in my head that wouldn’t leave me alone: The snow falls and the air gets cold./ You’ve lost all the good in your soul./ The winter wins/ as your restraint grows thin. It started there. As with many songs I write, this one went through multiple iterations. There was a version I played with for months by myself, and I knew I loved parts of it (like that first line), but I couldn’t ever get it quite right. Then I took it to Rick and Deanna, my amazing co-writers, and we started to pull it together. There was a line buried in a verse in my first version that went like this: And I look at you with those cold, cold eyes/ and I don’t see how the fire inside/ doesn’t melt your ice,/ doesn’t make you play nice. Deanna, in all her genius, instantly honed in on this line and said, “This is it. This is the song in a nutshell.” It became the basis for the chorus. Then we started rewriting the whole thing together, and we knew that the idea of “play nice” was all that mattered.

Sadie and Everett’s relationship is tumultuous in Point of Origin. He’s fighting forces beyond his control — like his nature in winter — and so sometimes we see him at less-than-his-best. He has anger, and it’s hard for us to like angry boys. But then there’s Sadie who isn’t all that blameless herself. Everett and all of the Winters keep secrets, but Sadie runs her own ring of trouble she won’t share with anyone. I’ve heard readers say they get frustrated with the decisions she makes, and I can’t blame them. Sadie is always making questionable decisions, which is what we tend to agree on. We agree less on which decisions are questionable. But to me, I sometimes wonder if she isn’t playing fair. She certainly isn’t playing nice. But neither are the Winters.

We wrote this song from Sadie’s perspective, but ask yourself how many different characters in this story could have sung this to one another?

I’m thrilled to present this song to you in its ultimate form. Here are the lyrics. What’s your favorite line?

The snow falls and the air gets cold
You’ve lost all the good in your soul
And the winter wins
As your restraint grows thin.

You took a step and I followed in time
Was the mistake yours, or was it mine?
You let me think I was placing the bet
Architect of this regret

I’m sure you’ve got an endgame,
but I don't know the rules
You bury truth like bodies
Wearing secrets like crown jewels.

Love, my love won’t melt your ice
But why not try, try to play nice?

Your darkness wakes
And it’s picking a fight
Below the belt, beyond the light

I take a step, and you follow in time
You don't see me fall behind

You’re sure I’ve got an endgame,
But you don’t know the rules.

Love, your love won’t melt my ice
And I won’t try, try to play nice.
Love, my love, you’ve felt my ice.

The snow falls and the air gets cold
You’ve lost all the good in your soul
The snow falls and the air gets cold
You’ve lost all the good in your soul
The snow falls and the air gets cold
I’ve lost all the good in my soul.

Giving it all away! And new music!

erica

The next few days are going to be full of SO MUCH COOL STUFF it's not even funny. Starting today, we're hosting a giveaway because, well, we like giving stuff away apparently. You've got a chance to win one of five copies of Point of Origin for your Kindle, plus a grand prize swag pack including an autographed copy of Point of Origin, an exclusive Point of Origin t-shirt, other swag, AND a $15 iTunes giftcard!

Why are we giving stuff away, you ask? Because for 3 days only, you can download The Survivors for FREE for your Kindle! Already have it? Then send the best gift ever to a friend! Heck, maybe even send it to your enemy as a peace offering. Either way, help spread the love. We always appreciate the love.

And finally, to cap it all off... it's time for a much overdue release of the next Survivors Single! On Tuesday, we'll premier "Play Nice" performed by the super talented Elle Maze. Trust me, you don't want to miss this song. It's SO BADASS.

Until then, we start with the GIVEAWAY! You've got until Friday to enter and can do many things once a day to get more entries, like sharing the contest on Facebook and Twitter and sending to book as a gift. Visit the GIVEAWAY TAB on Facebook for all the details

Cool morning, Cooler look.

erica

This fall, as the mornings turn crisp, I'm not breaking out old favorites but embracing a whole new wardrobe. This has given me the chance to add in fun by timeless pieces, like this Parker boucle blazer with leather trim and zipper detail (this pic doesn't do it justice!). It's been a fun challenge to get myself together every morning, reinventing my pieces into new outfits day in and day out. Today, I had everything from a business meeting to a big wig donor dinner, grocery shopping, and lunch with a friend. And so I offer myself this challenge: what's a practical, comfortable, totally on-trend, totally stylish way to put myself together for every event today. I start with a statement — the jacket – and build around it. A practical but perfect heeled oxford and a cozy legging. A skirt that adds volume and movement and youth. A top knot to look sleek. And the oh-so-important color pop and whimsy. Don't make yourself too serious. Don't style yourself in a way that makes you feel less than your best.

Style isn't meant for weekends and nights out. It's meant as a way of life. So start living the life, from the board room to a soccer field to a date night.

Don’t compromise your street style passions to fit your grown up life. Find a way to be your most stylish self in every room you enter.

Good Times in the CIty

erica

Last week I spent some time in New York for some meetings and to appear on a panel during the New York Film Festival. Many fabulous activities ensued... including hang time with the lovely Cara Lynn Shultz and Kate Treadway, an intimate evening with Jack White, about a thousand new fabulous street-style loves, and more idea-conjuring than one should normally have in a day. Here's a few photos that sum up the trip.

Fiction, fashion, fantasy... Film?

erica

So depending on how well you know me, you might just know me as that random YA author chick who occasionally rambles on about transmedia, builds apps and other random things, or that one who won’tshutup. about fashion.

These are all true enough that I can’t deny them. In fact, each is a fairly accurate appraisal of (some part of) my being.

Here’s a thing you (maybe) don’t know: I’m into all these things because they are all (yes, even if not especially fashion) are forms of storytelling. I like stories. I like the fantasmic wistfulness. I like the exploration. I like anything that goes into communicating a story, real or fictional, to anyone, in anyway. (I think, I think that’s why my spiffy new bio ends on a line that goes something like this: “Havard is always looking for the next great story — and the most innovative way to tell it.”)

It should come as no surprise to you, then, that I have aspirations in film. Huge ones. Giant, soul-clutching ones. Do I talk about this a lot? No. Do I talk about enough as it is? Yes. So this one I hold close. My inner circle hears me ramble on about film all the time, but you don’t, and that’s okay. In fact, my dear friend and crazy wicked talented cinematographer, Tyler, and I have text conversations that go like this:

Me: We should make a movie.

Tyler: Let’s do it.

<Two weeks of silence.>

Tyler: We have to make a movie.

Me: I KNOW. Seriously. But we need a script. And… We just… let’s talk more about this.

And so on.

So let’s say a few things about what this NEWS I have is not: I am not telling you I’m making a movie. Not yet. Also: The Survivors is not becoming a movie. Not yet.

But BUT this news is still awesome and here’s why: I care about making huge and giant story worlds. I want to do this for stories I come up with, I want to do it for stories you already know and love, and I want to do it in huge ways with stories you haven’t been introduced to yet. Last week, when I was in New York on business, I said the words, “I just want to build giant stories, even if they aren’t mine,” and someone looked at me and said “That is what you need to remember. And how you need to proceed.” Film, to me, is perhaps the most giant form of storytelling. And as new, weird, evolutionary forms of storytelling come about, what we’re going to see is film playing a massive role in our stories. Whether that’s playing in an immersive story experience on your iPad after you’ve read a book, while waiting for the movie of said wonderful story world or WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE (this is already getting too long…), I am just SO EFFING THRILLED to see where these big stories are going. And just the same way I make books and music and apps and weird extra content and let you talk to my characters on Twitter and everything else, I also want to get my hand in film.

Imagine, then, my excitement when I was invited to speak at THE NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL. That’s right FILM FESTIVAL. Digital Hollywood, an awesome group that hosts awesome events to discuss ALL THESE THINGS is hosting a Convergence on Immersive Media. (Hey! I like immersive media. That’s probably why I made this.) I’ve been invited to speak on a panel about the new forms of novels. AT A FILM FESTIVAL.

You see it, right? That all all all the kinds of stories are COMING TOGETHER. (Hey, that’s what convergence means… I get it now!) And what’s even cooler? I AM ONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO GETS TO TALK ABOUT THIS. I mean, I talk about it anyway. To you. To others. BUT NOW AT THE NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL.

You’re jumping, right? You’re jumping up and down with me RIGHT NOW, right? Good. I was worried there for a second.

It goes without saying that I am honored beyond belief. And though I am in no way massively delusional and think that somehow this also means BAM, I MAKE FILMS AND SHIT, I do love that I’m even sitting near the discussion, creation, execution, or showing of films. I just love that these dreams I have to tell giant stories are starting to be had by people in all the fields I want to be a part of.

So there it is. ME. NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL. SPEAKING. 

September 30th at Lincoln Center, if you want to come. Which you should. BECAUSE STORIES ARE GETTING BIGGER.

And that’s the best news of all.

Transient

The city never ages...

erica

This week, the lovely KP Simmon and I made a trip to New York for a few meetings (and shopping) about all of our super secret cool stuff. We met with Amy Evans, whom our UtopYA friends should remember, about the world of transmedia, apps, and future-stuff. Obviously, a good time was had by all, as evidenced by these glorious photos.

If you aren't following my Instagrams, you're obviously missing out.

More to come, kids. Things are getting exciting in Amanda-land.

Tidbits from Book 3...

erica

Since I'm knee deep– opposed to neck deep since I'm not that far– into edits for Book 3, I figured some exciting little bites of Survivors quotes would help satiate your hunger for more. Be patient, kids. It will be worth your wait.

Transient
Transient

Introducing... Survivors Sessions!

erica

Hello, friends. I hate to say it’s been as long as it has, but alas, here I am now with some EXCITING news. How exciting? SUPER EXCITING.

So you know that music is crazy important to me—in life, in my books, just in everything. And we’ve found a number of cool ways to integrate music into the series—from our original songs, “Pretty Girl” and “Breaking,” to the live stream of the Soundtrack playlist here on the site, even to the videos of Soundtrack songs over on my YouTube page.

But now we have THE SURVIVORS SOUNDTRACK SESSIONS.

I’m crazy excited about the launch of this series of videos. The Survivors Sessions actually came about from a few different things. First, I live in Music City, that is, Nashville, Tennessee. There are approximately two super talented people for every one regular person in this town, a ratio I quite enjoy. This is a town where music is king, and I hate how for all the opportunities there are out there, there are still so many of the supertalented Nashvillians who slip through the cracks. Secondly, I love the versions of the songs I chose for the Soundtrack, sure, but sometimes it’s amazing to hear others’ interpretations of these songs—either based on the song itself or based on the book.  Third, nothing makes me happier than collaborating with other talented people—specifically people more talented than I am!

And so from these three ideas came THE SURVIVORS SESSIONS. During each season on Fridays, we’re going to launch a new, original video on my YouTube page that is a cover of one of the songs off of the Survivors Soundtrack, performed by the amazing local talent here in Nashville. (There will be a few exceptions to this—not to the talent part, but to the local part… we’ll explain when we get there!) This is my way of bringing more and more artists and creative energies into THE SURVIVORS project as a whole, and it’s my way of giving you hugely more opportunities to let the music that inspired me inspire you. These covers are AWESOME. Some of them are dead ringers for the amazing originals, and others are hugely inventive interpretations that will chill you to your bones. Let them linger and invade your mind, your soul. That’s what these songs did to me. Let them do that for you.

And here’s a fun bonus: Some of the songs are off the first book’s soundtrack, but some of them are off FUTURE book soundtracks. This means that you can let them get into your head now, think of how they apply to the characters you know and love now, and then obsess your little hearts out over what they might mean for the future.

So, recap: Every Friday, go subscribe to my YouTube page and look for the Survivors Sessions videos. Then, check here for the story behind the song.

We’re kicking off with The Black Keys’ “Sinister Kid” which, hey, doesn’t appear on the first book soundtrack. It actually appears on the third book soundtrack. BUT this song has inspired me for Sadie since I first heard it off The Black Keys’ hugely acclaimed 2010 album, Brothers. I may have it selected for a certain scene in a certain book, but it fits with her as a character as a whole.

The lines that get me are Sadie through-and-through:

A sinister kid is a kid who runs to meet his maker.
A drop dead sprint from the day [she’s] born,
Straight into [her] Maker’s arms.
And that’s me. That’s me.
The [girl] with the broken halo.
That’s me. That’s me.
The Devil won’t let me be. 

I’m also a bit obsessed with… 

I got a tortured mind, and my blade is sharp.
A bad combination in the dark.
 

These words tell a story of a Sadie-type. And the rock vibe of The Black Keys reminds me that sometimes her messed-up-ness isn’t sad so much as it’s dangerous, a bit thrilling, and still always chilling. Only, even then, her darkness doesn’t consume you. That’s the thing with Sadie, isn’t it? Sometimes the glamour, the runway looks, the money, the cars, the boys… sometimes they make you forget what’s really happening her life. Or, maybe, they make you forget who she is, and what she’s trying to do. That’s what this song does. The amazing musicians behind The Black Keys—Patrick Carney & Dan Auerbach, who, really are AMAZING, perhaps awe-inducing, perhaps deity-esque—make you forget how messed up the character in the song is just enough to get lost in the music. And that’s what Sadie does to you too. 

That’s Minnie Murphy singing, playing the keyboard, and shaking her badass tambourine. And that’s Sean Weaver giving Dan Auerbach a run for his money on his electric guitar. Having these two powerhouse musicians in my living room (did I forget to mention these were all recorded in my living room?), covering a knock-your-socks-off song by two other powerhouse musicians that have all but changed my life is a moment I won’t soon forget. And hopefully, their cover is one you won’t soon forget either. 

I’m so stoked we’re finally here where we can share the Survivors Sessions with you. I’ll see you next Friday with a 13-year-old singer whose voice you won’t believe. Can’t wait.

To Salem we go...

erica

This was my second trip to Salem (third if you count that class trip in 6th grade). I went last year to do research for book 2 because there were some things I just needed to experience. My friend Meg (whose name you may recognize from, say, the dedication in The Survivors) took me up there, and we sort of did the whole tourist thing. This time around, we wanted to do some more digging. We saw more places, and then spent time in places like the Danvers Archival Center in the basement of the library in Danvers, MA (which was once Salem Village). We took a bajillion pictures and some video that we'll be sharing with you soon.

Places like the archival center excite the hell out of me. Research is sort of the bread and butter of this story. There are so many details underneath the story-- some that make it in, some that don't-- that piece together the real timeline of events as it's supported by existing documentation in such a way that it makes the Survivors' story...plausible. Letters written from the Governor of Massachusetts back to England, petitions signed by townspeople, arrest warrants, trial transcripts, first-hand accounts, memoirs... and the list goes on. The little academic in me bubbles in excitement when I find the holes in history. Weird details that I can't believe have survived 320 years. Weirder missing pieces of information whose omission is suspect. We know so much about what happened in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692... and yet we don't.

I once heard Alyson Noel say that she doesn't believe in writers' block. If she gets stuck, all she does is research. More research brings more ideas, and so there's always a forward movement. I've always agreed with this whole-heartedly, and I was reminded of it in Salem. There are always more loose ends or instances of truth-stranger-than-fiction. And so there's always inspiration. That's my favorite thing about the writing process. If you're writing and get stuck, or want to be writing and don't know how to get started... then research. It's the universal answer. In my-- and Alyson Noel's-- book anyway.

Adventures in music video making...

erica

Hi kids. I know it's been a while, but I've been traveling, researching, thinking, recording, music-video-shooting, and working of course on my secret shenanigans that you may or may not have heard me talking about on Twitter lately. SO MUCH is developing in Survivor world, much that we'll get to talk about soon!

Last week, we shot the last parts of the music video for our next original song for Survivors, "Breaking." The more we work with this song, the more excited I get about it! Jess Moskaluke, the singer for this song, is just so talented I can't stand it. You can check out her YouTube channel here to hear a sample of what I'm talking about. One of my favorites is her song called "Catch Me If You Can." We had a lot of fun at this second part of the shoot. This was the time where we got to glam her up and get her to sing her heart out a few times on camera. Here are some sneak peeks from the shoot: