So Business first:
1. Don't forget about the The Romantic Times preview of THE DARK DIVINE. Chapter 4 just went up on their blog. If you go over there and read the chapter, leave a comment on the RT blog, and then come back here and tell me about it, I'll enter you in the weekly random grab-bag prize giveaway. Our random winner from last week is: YA Vampire Books
Email me at readbree(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll send you the list of your prizes to choose from.
2. Don't forget about the BIG FRAKKING GIVEAWAY. All you have to do to enter is comment on that post. But creativity in spreading the word about TDD will get you bonus entries. Also, don't forget that the deadline has changed to December 14th.
3. My first two book signings have been scheduled:
The official launch party for TDD will be on January 2nd at 3pm at The King's English in SLC, Utah. I'll be doing a book talk, reading, and signing. I imagine there will also be refreshments and prizes :)
I will also be doing a reading and signing at the West Jordan Barnes & Noble on January 16th at 2pm.
If you'd like me to do a signing in your hometown, then ask your local bookstore to have me come out for an event, or start pestering my publisher @egmontgal on twitter to send me your way. Hey, it's worth a shot right?
Okay, on to the fun stuff:
Top 7 Things I Learned At This Weekend's Writing Retreat
1. If you don't want to be murdered in your bed, fill your house with a bunch of crazy people. And it snows A LOT in Payson, Utah.
Writing buddy Kimberly Webb Reid had her house in Payson to her lonesome this weekend while her hubby went to Vegas with his brother. And since the sleepy little town of Payson, Utah experienced it's first ever murder a couple of weeks ago (I may or may not be making up that statistic) she wasn't too keen on spending the weekend alone. Figuring no one would want to invade a house filled with crazy people, so she invited our critique group out for a weekend of writing at her place--needless to say, we were ready and willing to come protect her. And since it apparently it snows a lot in Payson, we were pretty much stranded there all weekend. (We were able to make one quick trip Walmart for supplies in Valynne's SUV, but after sliding on the roads we dared not make another trip out.)
2. Brodi Ashton is still #1 Crazy.
Awhile ago, our friend James Dashner asked us who was the craziest person in our critique group. Brodi was named #1. (I'm number #3, btw.) Brodi insisted that the vote was unfair since she wasn't present, and has been campaigning for a re-vote ever since. We debated much, and Brodi tried to explain why we were all crazier than she, but ultimately the matter was tabled, so therefore Brodi remains at #1 crazy.
3. Snuggies aren't all they're cracked up to be.
On our supply run to Walmart, Valynne decided to buy a leopard print snuggie. However, the darn thing just kept sliding off everyone's shoulders. Which kind of defeats the entire purpose of the Snuggie in the first place. I think it should be redesigned with a back like a giant fleece poncho. We could call it a "ponchie" or a "ponchet."
4. Writers Love Titles
And not just titles for their books. Valynne Maetani decided that our writing group should finally have an official name, and Emily Wing Smith decided that we should each have an official figurehead title within the group. We debated much and we went through several names such as: The Clique (too cliquish), The Craft (too witchy), Scribble Sisters (not too fond of the S.S. acronym), and BAM (an acronym invented by Brodi Ashton's son that doesn't actually stand for anything.)
We finally settled on "The SIX." We also assigned each person an official figurehead position. Here they are in order of craziest person:
#1 Brodi Ashton: Crap, um, I can't remember her position. Maybe she's just Official #1 Crazy?
#2 Emily Wing Smith: Official Group Scribe
#3 Bree Despain: Official Hair Consultant and Nutritionist (b/c I insist everyone eat a bit of protein at each meal)
#4 Valynne Maetani: Official Bouncer (seriously, don't mess with V)
#5 Kimberly Webb Reid: Official Ledger Keeper (Not sure how this is different from Official Scribe)
#6 Sarah Bolton: Official Sartorial Advice Giver (Because she supplies our group with fashionable yet affordable shoes. Like the yellow ones I'm wearing in this pic. You should check out her online shoe biz here)
5. A Grouper is NOT an Amphibian
Actually, I already knew this. But get a group of slap-happy, sleep deprived, sugar O.D.ed, snuggie wearing writers into a game of Scattagories and anything can happen--like Brodi adamantly trying to convince us all that fish and amphibians are the same thing. And don't you dare try to get a made-up word past Emily. That girl is a walking dictionary and she will tackle you while wearing a leapard print snuggie and wrestle you over a correct definition. I'm not normally a game player, but I have to admit that this was one entertaining board game experience.
6. Being the group's Official Hair Consultant actually has official responsibilities (who knew?)
Earlier this week, Brodi Ashton asked me if I thought she could pull off being a brunette. I said, "Um, No" because she has really light eyebrows. Well, Brodi, being #1 crazy and all, decided that I was saying that being a brunette required special skillz that she does not possess and took this as a challenge to prove me wrong.
So first she went to a professional hair dresser and had her hair dyed. Then she tweeted me this picture and claimed that she was now a brunette:
But then I saw Brodi the very next day at the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES launch party and she looked like this:
(Sara Zarr, Valynne, Emily, Brodi, Me, James Dashner, Kika, Kika's Friend)
Anyone else notice the discrepancies in these two pics? Yeah, I thought so.
I declared that Brodi was indeed NOT A BRUNETTE, so during the retreat she decided to dye her hair AGAIN. This time with a $7 bottle of dye from Target. (Emily and Valynne decided to get in on the action and also wanted to dye their hair.) And since I had just been voted "hair consultant," I was forced to do the actual dying for all three of them (as opposed to just laughing at their antics like I'd originally planned). Em's hair turned out fantastic. Valynne's you really couldn't tell the differnence. And, well, Brodi's . . . still didn't turn out brunette. It was more like dirty, dirty, dirty dishwater blond (Brodi's own words, not mine).
Devastated, Brodi drove in a snow storm to Walmart to buy and box of blond highlights to try to restore her original hair color, but then we somehow decided to use Emily's left-over bottle of dark brown die on her instead. Which means that:
6. Brodi Ashton still can't pull of being a brunette
Yep. Apparently Brodi's hair is resistant to the color brown. After THREE dye jobs, she is now officially a red head. Em's dye had a touch of red in it, and that's all Brodi's hair seemed to care about. (I'd show you a picture but by the time we'd done four dye jobs in Kim's guest bathroom, we were all looking a little worse for wear and nobody would pose for a pic.)
7. I can actually get some work done in a house full of crazy people
Shocking, huh? Despite all the craziness, I actually got a good 23 pages out of the experience. That's a big deal for me. And they're actually 23 pages that I really, really love. I can't wait for the next retreat!
So what did you do over the weekend?