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German cover of Frostbite
The official VA Facebook page posted a new picture from our set visit last month. Mostly it's a picture of me, though. What am I watching? Fourteen amazing minutes of footage from the movie that they put together for us of all sorts of different scenes:

richellefilm


Insider Tip #1: that university lecture hall I'm in was used as a classroom setting for St. Vladimir's. Insider Tip #2: My smile's a little goofy because I knew I was being photographed but was supposed to pretend I didn't know. My inner smile at the amazing footage I was watching is more like this: :D :D :D x 1000000

Excited to see some footage yourself? Hang in there, guys. The first trailer debuts NEXT WEEK!


Top Ten Things You May Not Know

German VA 1
Some of you are going to read this, and say, "Richelle, I know all those things!" But I guarantee, there are many who don't know some of these things...because I'm asked about them on a daily basis in email and social media. So, here's a rundown of some major things in the world of Richelle Mead that have slipped through the cracks for some people. Hope it helps!

1. There is a spin-off series to Vampire Academy called Bloodlines
Bloodlines has been out for almost two years, and I still get messages saying, "There are so many questions at the end of Last Sacrifice! How could you end the series? What happens to Sydney, Adrian, Jill, and Eddie?" Yup, there are questions I left on purpose in LS to set up Bloodlines. The Bloodlines series not only follows those four characters but also keeps us in the loop with Rose, Dimitri, Lissa, and Christian--whose roles are getting bigger as the series continues. The events happening in this series are pivotal if I ever do continue the VA series. Future plots are being set up right before your eyes! Book #4, The Fiery Heart, comes out in November, and you guys, it is SMOKIN' HOT. People who've read The Indigo Spell know I'm not messing around. So catch up on your Adrian action now! Series stats and excerpts are here.

2. There is a short story about Rose and Dimitri after Last Sacrifice
I'm often asked to write about Rose and Dimitri visiting Russia after LS ends. Surprise! It's already out there, in a short story called "Homecoming." You can find this story in an anthology called Foretold, which features other tales by some great authors. And to find out more about Rose and Dimitri after LS, see above and read Bloodlines.

frostbitegnsmall3. There are graphic novels of the VA series
Two, in fact. One for Vampire Academy and one for Frostbite. They're adapted by Leigh Dragoon and drawn by fab artist Emma Vieceli. Shadow Kiss will be out early next year, and future ones will depend on the success of these. So stock up, and tell your friends! You can find them on Amazon and and other big booksellers or order them signed here.

4. There's going to be a Vampire Academy movie
I thought everyone knew by now, but I still get questions on this too. Vampire Academy has just wrapped filming and will be released in the US on February 14, 2014. Other release dates are unknown since those are handled by each individual country's distributors. The VA movie has an amazing cast, is directed by Mark Waters of Mean Girls fame, and is written by Daniel Waters (who penned Heathers). The first trailer will be out this month, and whether or not the other books become movies will depend on this one's success.

VAposter5. You can order signed copies of my books pretty easily
If I'm not having a signing near you (which is likely, since pregnancy will keep me in the Pacific Northwest for the next year or so), fear not! You can order signed books from a local store of mine. They carry all of my current titles (including the graphic novels and Foretold mentioned above) and are even doing pre-orders for The Fiery Heart. There is no extra charge. You just have to pay shipping, and they'll ship internationally. PLEASE don't let someone online take advantage of you and sell you a signed copy of one of my books for some outrageous cost when you can get them at University Books for cover price. Instructions and the store's contact info are here.

6. I have a website
A lot of people don't know this! They go to Facebook and Twitter, wanting release dates and tour schedules, but it's already posted in one handy spot at: www.richellemead.com

7. I have a mailing list that will tell you when I'm coming to see you
People are sad (so am I) when they find out I just had a book signing in their city the previous week. Don't miss out on this stuff! I only send messages to my mailing list (4-5 times a year) to announce signings and new releases. No one else can post but me, and this way, you'll get notified if I'm signing near you. Join it here. If you want to chat about the books, there's a Yahoo group where lots of people talk.

gameboard1208. I have adult books...like, not Vampire Academy and Bloodlines
These books have more intense language and sex than my YA stuff, and you can learn about them and read excerpts here. They all have paranormal/fantasy elements and have varying degrees of the humor and romance I love to write about.

9. There's an app for me
Yup, if you're an Apple user, search for the World of Richelle Mead app. There's lots of free content, with book and character descriptions, and if you order a book through the app, you'll get an annotated copy with notes from me. Sorry--previous purchases outside the app won't work that way.

10. There's a scene out there written from Dimitri's POV
For helping Dimitri win a recent competition, I rewrote a short scene from the first VA book in Dimitri's point of view. You can read it here. Alas, despite all the requests, I'm afraid there will be no books or series written from his POV. This is as close as we get to his mysterious mind!


The Mind of Dimitri

Vampire Academy Crop
If you've been following me in social media, you know that Dimitri had a pretty tough showdown last week in the annual YA Crush Tournament, but you guys managed to pull off his victory anyway! With Adrian's win last year, this makes Mead Men two for two. Thank you so much!

And as a reward, I'm delivering what I promised: a scene from the first VA book written in Dimitri's point of view. No, I'm not even joking. It's right here.

And if that wasn't enough, the first chapter of The Fiery Heart will go live on Monday, July 29. I'll post the link when that's up.

Enjoy!


Movie Q&A

Blood Promise
Got questions about the Vampire Academy movie? I've got answers! Maybe.

The Weinstein Company, one of the movie's distributors, is offering all fans (no geographic boundaries) the chance to ask me questions about the VA movie! Through next week, they'll be collecting fan questions and then choosing fifteen of them for me to answer on July 22. Hope they're not too tough for me! If you'd like the chance to post a question or two or three, there are a few places you can do it.

1. Right here
Just post your question in the comments! Note: if you post anonymously, the question will be invisible until I get a chance to go through and mark it as not-spam. So, I can't guarantee the Weinstein Company will see it in time. That means if you don't have an LJ account, try one of the other options.

2. Facebook
You can post your question to my Official Facebook page. As of the writing of this blog entry, the post asking for questions is near the top of my FB page. If you don't see it, scroll down until you find the entry mentioning the Weinstein Company's Q&A.

3. Twitter
You can post your question on Twitter! Post it to @OfficialVAMovie and tag it #vampireacademy. No need to send it to me on Twitter. I'm not choosing them, and it'll cost you valuable characters. :)

In other movie news, I can tell you that last I heard, this is the last week of filming. I haven't got 100% confirmation on that, but if you follow the actors on Twitter, you'll know that a bunch of them are wrapping up. Crazy. This, of course, brings up the next big question: when can we see teasers or trailers? All I can advise is patience (which isn't easy for me either!). There haven't been trailers while they're filming, so our odds are definitely better once they have all the footage! Even then, it takes time to edit together really good scenes. Keep in mind that they do about ten takes of each scene. That's a lot to go through. We'll probably see some stills before then, but again, I don't have dates. About the only thing I can say with some certainty is you'll get prop pictures at least once a week...so expect another this week!


Movie prop: St. Vladimir's Library Policy

Vampire Academy Crop
Well, I know you guys are still desperately wanting cast pictures, but those still haven't gotten an official release. But, as promised, I am able to show a few other things this week, like my pic with director Mark Waters from Sunday. And today we have...a prop!



You're probably like, wait, what is this? Here's the story behind it. When I visited London, they were filming on location at a local university in order to do shots inside St. Vladimir's. As I was hanging out, I noticed all sorts of signs. Signs like this one about library policy. Signs directing me to other departments. Signs for staff offices. And I was thinking, "Yeah, yeah, of course there are signs, this is a university." Then I noticed something. This isn't one of the university's signs. It was a St. Vladimir's sign--made for the set! I don't even know if you'll be able to see these in the actual film. They're small, and there's so much action and drama in the school halls that it's probably hard to even notice these in the background. Nonetheless, the set department is so dedicated and keeping track of even the smallest details that they do stuff like this! I was blown away at that dedication. They don't overlook anything!


Set visit picture!

German Shadow Kiss
Look what I have for you before I fly off this morning: a picture from the set! Here's director Mark Waters and me at his monitors while filming stunt scenes outside. Good times!

And if you haven't read my previous two posts about the set visit, be sure and check them out!

markrichellesmall


Vampire Academy movie set, part 2!

Little Dhampir
Well, that's a wrap for me. This was just a short and sweet visit to the London set, and tomorrow I return home to Seattle and my family. I've had an amazing time, and today was especially amazing since I actually had a good night's sleep behind me. It makes a huge difference!

Today started with a wardrobe crisis. Fortunately, my agent brought his significant other along, who just happens to be a costume designer and has a great eye for style. He went out and bought me some things to try on, and amazingly, they all fit perfectly. I can't even pick stuff off the rack in my own size, let alone convert with UK sizes. Now I never want to do my own shopping again. I kept it all and looked super snazzy for set tonight, which was a good thing because I had to do a bunch of interviews when I got there. I talked to some really lovely people, and you guys are going to hear lots of good info from me and the cast once these stories get out.

After that, we got to watch some interior shots being filmed within the school. Much like last night, I was so enchanted that watching take after take never got old. When that wrapped up, we were given a super amazing experience: they made us a rough 14-minute montage of some of the scenes they've shot so far to give us an idea of the breadth of actors and sets.

You guys, it was amazing.

Now, you're probably thinking, "Richelle, you would never tell us if the movie was bad." That's true. However, I also wouldn't keep saying it was good. I would emphasize other things, like how beautiful the actors are (because they are), and never talk about the movie itself. But I'm here telling you, the footage I saw was INCREDIBLE. I got chills. Jim, Erin, and I even conferred to make sure we aren't just biased. But seriously...I can't believe how wonderful what I saw was. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine they could portray the power of the book so well. The chemistry between the actors is off the charts--and I don't just mean romances (though you could feel that too! Zoey/Danila and Lucy/Dominic knocked it out of the park as their respective couples). But the friendships there are so strong too. Zoey and Lucy are as different as Lissa and Rose are...and yet complement each other so perfectly. When you see them acting together, showing Lissa and Rose looking out for each other, it just pulls at your heart.

Which brings me to an important topic: Mason. I didn't see any clips of Cameron Monaghan tonight. I didn't have to because they were filming one with him six feet in front of me. So I got to see him up close and personal, interacting with Rose. Stop reading if you haven't read Frostbite because I've got to tell you something. For years, I've been asked if I felt bad about what happened to Mason. And I've always said no, no, it was the way story had to go, tragic though it was. But man, I tell you, guys, I can't say that anymore. After meeting Cameron (who's incredibly funny and nice) and seeing him put his heart into the role, I now have a flesh and blood face to put on Mason. And I felt SO BAD for him as I was sitting there. I felt like I needed to offer apologies to Cameron over and over. So, all of you who've thought I was so cold-hearted for what I did can now rejoice that I finally feel some guilt. :) That doesn't change the books, of course, so don't get your hopes up!

We wrapped up our night watching some action-packed stunt scenes outside, which was pretty fun. Director Mark Waters let me sit by him and his monitors as they filmed and checked footage. Cool process. Around midnight, my group and I finally decided to head back to our hotel, so we made our goodbyes. Danila and Zoey were in the middle of action takes on the set, but they let me run onto it and hug them goodbye. They were so sweet. They and all the rest of the cast were super nice to me. They really are just a great group of friendly, hardworking people who love what they do, and I couldn't be more thrilled at the interpretation they're doing for my books.

Now, I know you guys are anxious for pictures, and all I can advise is patience. I still don't have authorization to post any, but hopefully I've painted you a good picture with words! There really haven't been any big, official pics released yet, and they want to make sure that when they come out, they're done right and chosen well. Hang in there--you should be seeing something this week, at the very least some props or behind-the-scenes candids.

Thank you so much for all of your enthusiasm and support! I've loved reading your reactions here, on Twitter, and on Facebook. I've felt like you traveled with me. It means so much to me and the people working on the movie to know you believe in them. And I want to offer my own thanks to all of them as well. The actors are putting their hearts and souls into bringing the characters to life for us, and that unseen crew of hundreds is working so hard on stunts, costumes, and a million other essential things. I am so honored by the job they're doing.

Talk to you soon from the States!


Vampire Academy movie set, part 1!

German VA 1
I've been pretty bad about blogging, so a lot of my updates have come via social media lately. If you follow me there, you probably know the exciting news: I'm currently in London, visiting the set of the Vampire Academy movie! My journey started with a sleepless 9-hour flight from Seattle, which seemed incredibly long until I was met with awestruck looks from people who'd taken 6 hours to fly from New York and couldn't figure out how the math added up, seeing as it takes almost 5 hours to fly from Seattle to New York. Apparently, my flight headed north and flew over Canada and Greenland (a route so northerly it never got truly dark out), and that shortened global circumference led to a "speedy" flight.

But you don't care about geometry. You want to know if I met Danila Kozlovsky and if he's as handsome in person as in his pictures. The answers are yes and even more yes. But I'll get there.

Joining me in London are my literary agent Jim McCarthy and Penguin US marketing director Erin Dempsey. We arrived at the VA set in early evening yesterday, where they were filming at a local university. Producers Don Murphy and Susan Montford met us and led us straight into...a classroom at St. Vladimir's Academy. Yup, there we were sitting off to the side of a giant lecture hall filled with Moroi and dhampirs. I can't tell you what they were filming, but I will say it was a scene from the book, one that's a big favorite. It's such a favorite of mine that after watching ten takes of it, I could've watched about ten more.

They do a lot of takes, not because of mistakes, but because they need all sorts of camera and microphone angles. It takes hours for what probably results in about a minute of film time. The dedication the cast and crew put into this is amazing! They have to sit there under those hot lights, doing a lot of waiting, and be ready on a moment's notice when action is called. There were guardians stationed around the class, looking stoic and protective, and they have the sweetest, most stylish jackets ever. They're also very heavy jackets, and between takes, those poor actors would take them off because of how hot it was and then quickly get back in when filming resumed.

And...actors. Who did I meet? Zoey Deutch (Rose), Lucy Fry (Lissa), Cameron Monaghan (Mason), Dominic Sherwood (Christian), Sami Gayle (Mia), Sarah Hyland (Natalie), Ashley Charles (Jesse), Chris Mason (Ray aka Ralf), Bronte Terrell (Camilla aka Camille), and Harry Bradshaw (Bruno aka one of Mia's friends). There was a third young man who came up to me with Jesse and Ray, introducing themselves as the "bad guys," whose name I didn't catch because we all got shushed as some action started. I lost track of him after that, so I apologize to him and hope to get his name for you later!

The actors were all so nice! Zoey is just as energetic as Rose and talked to me about how passionate and wonderful the VA fans are. Lucy, who you'll be pleased to know had beautiful green eyes (presumably contacts), was so sweet and talked to me about writing. Cameron, for obvious reasons, tried to sell me on rewriting Mason's part in the series. :) There was so much going on that I couldn't talk to any one person for a long time, which was probably the most disappointing part. I really wish I could've talked to each person at length and gotten to know them better. The one thing I took away from everyone, though, is that they're all having a great time. Obviously, I've never followed another movie's making so closely, so I don't know if it's always this way, but everyone just seemed so positive and to be genuinely having fun. I love that.

Everyone's been asking: how does it feel seeing my book brought to life? In a word: amazing. I'm just blown away at how much thoughtfulness and detail goes into this process. You guys seriously can't imagine how much work and manpower a movie requires. The actors work so hard, and then there's a huge unseen crew who's working just as hard every step of the way on tasks you would never even guess. I may have originally conceived these scenes, but they're the ones who have to visualize every single detail--from those amazing guardian jackets to the class assignments on the student's desks. Nothing is left to chance. Director Mark Waters was so in his zone making sure everything was perfect that I felt bad when he came and said hi to me--but of course he did because he's a super nice guy, and I'm so thrilled at the work he's doing. I've been telling people for years: I make books, not movies. Movies are these guys' specialty and it shows. They've visualized the scenes for the screen in ways I never could have, and if you're picturing incredible things for this movie...well, they're going to be even more incredible than what you're imagining.

So, yes, you've probably noticed I didn't mention any adult cast members. None of them (except Mr. Meisner) were on set for the classroom scene. Some have even wrapped and won't be back for the rest of filming. But, as Jim, Erin, and I were leaving for dinner, we passed Danila Kozlovsky (Dimitri) as he was coming in to work! We were all a little starstruck, but he's so nice and approachable that it's easy to instantly feel comfortable around him. He thanked me for writing the books and I asked him about his experience so far. He said he's having a great time and learning a lot. This is his first English film, but I tell you, I think his English is better than mine. He and Jim talked a little Wimbledon. I don't follow it, but they were both pleased with last night's results, so that was good. Danila kissed my hand goodbye and then headed off to join the others for another long night of working on this wonderful, beautiful project.

And that was day one. We (especially me, who hadn't slept in almost two days) were jet-lagged and chose to go back to our hotel after dinner. We'll be back on set tonight and might even get to see some action scenes! I know many of you are anxious for pictures, and all I can say is: they're coming. Because there's been no official press shots yet, all images are tightly regulated. There's a long and complex explanation, but the short version is: be patient, they're coming! Once the first shots are released, there'll be a floodgate of images of actors and scenes, both professional and my candids. So stay tuned because things are about to get awesome(r).


Set Visit Contest

Win
Hot news! The Weinstein Company, the VA movie's U.S. distributor, is running a contest to give one lucky American winner and a guest the chance to go to London next month, see the movie being filmed, meet the cast, and more! If that's something that works for you, then go to this page and enter right away. There's a link there that will lead you to all the fine print and rules if you want to check those out too. Good luck!

As I stated above, the contest is for Americans, and this has caused a fair amount of confusion that I wanted to address. But let's start by taking about books first. When I write a book, I can't instantly make it appear in all bookstores around the world. I start by selling it to an American publisher, who gets it into American stores. My American publisher understands U.S. laws and sales regulations, has people whose sole job is to work with a single store (like Amazon or B&N), and knows the English language. They don't know any of that stuff for, say, Bulgaria. So, if I want my book there, I have to find a Bulgarian book company and make a deal with them to get my books over there. I have to do the same for France. And for Slovenia. Basically, my office is filled with contracts from countries all around the world that I've had to make separate deals with to publish my books, and once I sell the book to a foreign publisher, the schedule and advertising are all in their hands (which is why there can be delays for a book to come out, especially since sometimes I can't even find a publisher who will buy the book in certain countries).

A similar process works for movies. There's an amazing team working on the VA movie right now, but they don't personally send it to theaters around the world. They make deals with different companies--called distributors--who operate in each country (or in some cases, set of countries), and each of those distributors is responsible for advertising the movie, getting it in theaters, and dealing with that country's laws and business. The Weinstein Company, who is running and paying for this set visit contest, is the American distributor, so they are working with American laws, theaters, and advertising. That's why their contest is only open to Americans. Contests and sweepstakes have legal requirements around the world that they must follow.

Now, is it possible a distributor in some other part of the world might run a similar contest? Absolutely. And if they do, I'll certainly let you know! I hope this explanation clears things up and helps people understand that this is all about legal technicality and international business--NOT some exclusion of international VA fans. I saw that some people thought the movie makers had something against international fans, which of course makes no sense considering what an amazing international cast we have! The VA family is a global one, which makes it so incredible. Also, to be clear: the movie makers are not the ones even running this contest. They're too busy making the movie to deal with advertising and whatnot right now. :) That's why they have distributors.

I hope that helps explain things! And if you aren't in a country eligible for a set visit, rejoice in the news that the winner of this contest also gets a flip cam to document their trip, so we can expect some more behind-the-scenes footage soon. Believe it or not, I'm just as excited as you guys to see more of what's going on. I've seen exactly one still from the movie, and that nearly made me faint. Hope I can handle what else is to come!


Adora & Seahawk
Just a quick heads up if you're coming to see me sign in Seattle tonight at 7pm. Although the event is being run by University Book Store, as usual, it's not being held in their store. It's being held at the University Temple United Methodist Church, which is across the street. Like, really. Across the street. If you're standing in their parking lot and look across 43rd St, you'll see the church. They'll have my books on sale in the church, and I'll do all the usual signing and talking, just in a slightly different setting.

You can park in University Book Store's lot and walk on over, no problem. However, there is another author at the bookstore at the same time, so there's a chance parking might be tight. I've included a map below to help you. The red "A" is the church, and you can see where University Book Store is labeled near it. I'm told there's a public lot near 45th and 15th. You can also see a "P" near the Burke Museum. I'm told there's a lot called N1 in that area that costs $5 after 5pm. When you turn into campus and go through the gatehouse, make sure to request N1. There's also street parking in the area.

If in doubt, just show up early and take the bookstore's lot from the other signing. But you didn't hear that from me. :)

ubooksmap


Looking forward to seeing you! And if you can't make tonight's Seattle event, check out my schedule because I'll be signing at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park next week. The schedule also shows my Los Angeles and San Diego info this week. Even though I'm promoting Gameboard of the Gods, I'm very happy to sign and talk about all of my other books too. See you soon!


*ATTENTION:
PLEASE! Mark all spoilers in your comments.

*If you have questions about books, release dates, tour dates, or anything else, please check my website instead of leaving the question in comments or using LJ mail. You're more likely to find an answer!.*



I have red hair and subsist entirely on Kona coffee.

Other crucial information--such as my books, background, and appearances--can be found by clicking the links below.

Please note: I am HOPELESSLY behind in responding to e-mails and LJ comments right now. Be patient as I catch up!

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