Sunday, March 29, 2009

My First Ever Blog Contest

My brain is fried from working on revisions so much status: On Thursday I noticed that we were desperately low on diapers, so I pulled myself away from my computer for a quick dash to the grocery store. Ran through the store, grabbed diapers, a bag of gluten/dairy free chocolate, corn chips, and a roasted chicken (because for some reason my family still expects to be fed these days) and paid for the diapers and food (I have the receipt to prove it!). And then, somehow, got home without the diapers . . .A fact that was not discovered until several hours later when I got a frantic phone call from hubby (who graciously offered to watch the kids so I could go meet Laurie Halse Anderson at a book signing downtown) because KidA had developed a sudden case of diarrhea.

This week revisions. Next week potty training.

My kids are completely crazy status: KidZ is quite the little story teller. He really has a knack for it like his dear ol’ mom. KidA has also been trying his hand at it. So here’s his latest literary creation:

KidA “Hey, guys. Want to hear my dump-truck story?”

Me: “Sure.”

KidA: “Once upon time, there was a helicopter.” (KidA then picked up his Lego helicopter and rammed it into the wall, busting it into several pieces.) “The end.”

Me: “Wow, KidA. That was a nice, surprising twist there at the end!”

Hubby: “Um, I thought it was supposed to be a story about a dump-truck?”

Me: "I know. That’s why it was such a great twist.”

(Can’t you just picture the dump-truck coming along to haul away all the helicopter pieces after the story was over?)

Contest Status:

Ok—on to business. As promised, I give you my very first ever blog contest. No book lives until it is read. And so it is with a blog. No blog lives until it is read. That which drives a writer is an abundance of readers. And how do authors get readers you ask? Well, the publishing industry relies heavily on word of mouth. And this presents both of us with an opportunity. I ask you to find people who would enjoy my blog, following my tweets, or who may be interested in my forthcoming book. And, in return- you get a chance at winning some pretty cool prizes. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. Sound good? Good. Well then, let’s get on with it.

Here’s how it works—for the next five days you can do the following:

1.)Become a follower of my blog by adding me to your “blogs that I follow” in your blogger dashboard, and you get one ticket. (If you are already a follower you automatically get a ticket because you are a leader… you so heard of me first… you joined the bandwagon while it was still just a wagon… etc. etc. ). If you choose to follow (or already are following) by another means, such as Google Reader or the RRS feed, please make a note of it in the comments section so I know who you are!

2.)Add me as someone to follow on Twitter and you get another ticket (click here to make it easy @breedespain). Then leave a comment on my blog telling me that you did so.

3.)Once you are a follower, you can earn more tickets by getting others to become a follower on either my blog, or on Twitter. You get one ticket for each individual you bring into the family (and they will get their respective tickets too). Please leave a comment on my blog to let me know who you got to follow, after they become followers.

4.)Promote this contest on your own blog or on Twitter with a link and you get another ticket. (Again, you will need to leave a comment on my blog stating where you referenced it to get credit).

All these tickets are then placed in a raffle. From that raffle you have a chance to win:

1.) A signed copy of Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

2.)A signed copy of The Way He Lived by Emily Wing Smith

3.)A copy of My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters by Sidney Salter (only just released).

4.)A copy of Need by Carrie Jones

5.)Another young adult novel of your choice

6.)A copy of Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and David King (an invaluable resource for any author—aspiring or otherwise).

7.)A bag of gluten, dairy, egg free Oreo-like substance (or real Oreos if that’s not your thing).

The first winner will have their pick of the prizes. Then the second winner can take their pick of the remaining prizes, and so on until they’re all gone.

So go forth and share the love. Have fun. And feel good that you are helping to stimulate the book buying economy. The contest will end this Friday, April 3rd at midnight. I will announce the winners the evening of April 5th and will give further instructions on how to claim your prize. Ok… on your marks, get set, go!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Come Tweet With Me

I'm taking the plunge. I've joined that illusive, somewhat baffling world of giving constant, random updates on everything I'm doing. Yep, that's right, I'm on Twitter.

You can follow me on twitter @breedespain.

Hope to see you all there!

P.S. Sorry for the short post. I'm on a roll with revisions and I can't interrupt the flow, man.

P.P.S. I'm gearing up for my first ever blog contest. It's coming very soon, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shout-outs for a few lucky friends

Hey all-

Since it's St. Patrick's Day, I thought I would take a minute to give props to a few of my friends who have had a lot of good luck lately. (And when I say good luck, I mean they are finally reaping the rewards of all their hard, hard work. And you know, a little bit of good fortune mixed in with the work too.)

The first shout-out goes to my friend Matt Kirby ,who just sold his Middle Grade debut novel to Scholastic in a preempt. It is slated to come out Fall of 2010. I haven't read this book yet, but I can assure you that if Matt wrote it, the writing is guaranteed to be superb.

The second shout-out goes to my friend Elena Jube, who just landed a fabulous agent for her novel based on the fairytale Thrushbeard. Her book is wonderful with an enchanting romance that made me neglect all my household duties (more than usual, that is) just so I could finish it. And she even used a few of my suggestions when revising. Neat. You can read more about her journey over on her brand new blog.

(Side Note: Matt, Elena, and I all met in a writing workshop almost 2 years ago, so I think it's extra cool that we're all coming into our writing careers at about the same time.)

The third shout-out goes to my agent sister Brodi Ashton who turned in her final revisions to Agent Ted last week, and she should be going out on submissions any minute now. I'll keep you posted on her progress. Plus, she gets to celebrate by stalking her mocha honey, Rafa. And she'd better come back with pics! Oh yeah, and her book is freaking hilarious. . .and one of the guys in her novel looks like Rafa. (Drool.)

The last shout-out goes to one of my new Tenners buddies, Lindsey Leavitt, who is celebrating that her YA novel, PRINCESS FOR HIRE, comes out 1 year from today by having a "good luck" contest on her blog. Pop over there and leave a comment about a time you experienced good luck, and she'll enter you in a drawing for one of 5 sweet prizes (4 are YA books, the 5th is a writing critique.) Plus, her post talks about the influence of "good luck" on a writer's odds of getting published. Worth checking out, and definitely worth entering the contest.

Hope you all have a wonderfully lucky week! And if you win a book, can I borrow it?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Look Mom, I've got friends

Book status: I'm in the middle of a round of revisions that are due April 1st. And all I can say to that is, "How did it get to be March 15th already?" Warning: if you see me in real life sometime in the next couple of weeks, don't expect me to be able to form coherent sentences. In fact, you may want to turn and walk the other way because I won't be able to guarantee that I've showered within any socially acceptable amount of time. . .just kidding . . .possibly.

Weird things my kids do status: Every time KidA finds a strand of my hair on the floor, he brings it to me and demands, "Put it back on, Mommy! Put it back on!" And he keeps hollering until stick the loose strand of hair back on my head.

On with my post: Mostly I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you about a couple of really neat blogging communities I've joined in the last week or two.

The first is called Fangs, Fur, and Fey and was started by best selling author Melissa Marr (of Wicked Lovely fame). It's a community for authors and fans of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. After a rigorous auditions process (I had to prove that I'm a nationally published author of either UF or PR with a reputable house) I was granted "member status" in their community. This means I will occasionally be posting on their site about things that are of interest to writers and fans of the genre. Whenever I do that, I'll be sure to link to it from here.

The second group is called 2010: A Book Odyssey (a.k.a The Tenners) and is a community for Middle Grade and Young Adult authors who will debut in 2010. Oh, hey, did I mention that my book has been slated to hit bookstores in Spring 2010 (which is more like February/March ish)?

Now before some of you go asking why my pub date is so far away I would like to note that this is actually pretty fast timing for the publishing world (and why my revisions need to be done by April 1st). The average amount of time it takes for a book to go from being purchased by a publisher to actual publication is typically anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 years--so yes, 1 year for The Dark Divine is fast. There's a lot that goes into making a book, from revisions to copy editing, jacket design to interior layout, approving proofs, more editing, sending out advanced copies for reviews, getting blurbs from other authors, showing the book to buyers from B&N and Amazon to get their feedback. It all takes time. And looking at the mountain of revisions I have to do in the next couple of weeks, I honestly wouldn't want my pub date to be any sooner than next Spring. And don't worry, I'll be sure to announce the official date over and over again as soon as I know it.

Anyway, the Tenners is a great place to discover new authors who will be debuting in 2010 along with me. A lot of the discussion happens in locked posts that are for members only, but there are still a lot of posts for the general public to follow. So far, they have been a very friendly bunch, and I am so excited to get to know other authors who are in the same boat as me.

Yesterday, I posted my bio on their site along with a synopsis of The Dark Divine. Head over there and check it out--you'll even get to learn five random things about me (you know, since I never found the time to fill out 25 random things about myself on Facebook.) Note: if you can't find the bio by scrolling down, then click on the tag "bree despain" and that should pull it up.

Have a great day!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Missed it by this much . . .And I hate the time change

I have failed you dear blog readers. My goal was to post at least once every week, but I just barely missed the deadline this time. I even considered changing the time stamp to make you all think I posted by 11:59 last night. Ha ha. Like I'd really do something like that . . .ha ha hu hu . . .

Anywho, on with the post.

Basically, all I have t say this morning is that I HATE THE TIME CHANGE!!!

Actually, it's a love/hate relationship. I love that we will getting an extra hour of sunlight in the evenings. I love that it feels like winter is a tad bit closer to being over. I love the whispered thoughts of summer on the horizon. But I hate that when my alarm clock went off this morning so I could get up for my daily work-out, all I could do is sit and stare at the clock at and wonder how it could possibly be 6:00am already?!

And I really hate that in a couple of minutes I'm going to have to go wake up KidZ so he can get ready for school, and I KNOW that it's not going to go over well. Man, if he's this hard to wake up at 6 years old, what is it going to be like when he's 16?

Oh, and did anyone else completely forget that the time change happened almost a full month earlier than it used to? Yeah, we totally showed up for church an hour late yesterday. It was really weird because we actually thought we were getting there a few minutes early (for once) but when we walked in, the chapel doors were closed and the meeting was almost over. Hubby and I just looked at each other in confusion and wondered if we'd been trapped in some kind of time warp. Which in actuality, we kind of did. Cool.

So I traveled through time yesterday, what'd you do?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Model for a day

So only a few weeks after buying my novel, the marketing team at Egmont USA asked me to provide them with an official author picture to be used on the back of my book and other promotional materials. Which basically caused a panic of monumental proportions at my house. . .

I mean, who keeps up with her eyebrows when hunkered down with revisions? Who knew all of my pairs of jeans were 2 sizes too big? (well, basically all of my friends who have been telling me to go buy new pants for the last couple of months . . .but anyway.) Who knew that I would have to visit every freaking clothing store in Salt Lake City and Park City in order to find a shirt that was the right color/size/shape/texture so it would photograph well?

Yeah, notice how I didn't mention the right price as one of the criteria? That's because I ended up spending more on a shirt than I EVER have in my entire life. Oh, and I didn't just have to buy one shirt, I had to find at least two, so I could do a wardrobe change.

Talk about stress.

Anyway, after about twenty billion hours of shopping, a fabulous eyebrow waxing, having my hair professionally styled, at least 3 practice sessions with my make-up, mixed in with a fantastic photographer, a handful of really neat locations in downtown Salt Lake City, topped off with a couple of pairs of funky shoes . . . I now present to you, my author photo shoot:

My photographer was Chauntelle Janzer of Opiefoto (who I will fondly refer to as Opie from now on). I found her website and totally fell in love with her portfolio. I especially loved the urban feel of her pictures, and the fun locations she uses is in downtown Salt Lake City. Since I write Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance, I thought it would be fun for my pictures to have an urban, yet romantic feel to them. And since I started writing The Dark Divine while living in downtown SLC, I figured Opie would be the perfect photographer for the job. I'm very excited about the results, and I hope you'll like the pics as much as I do (or more than I do, since I'm my harshest critic).

Please note: all photos are the copy right of Opiefoto

I love this location because the graffiti looks like stacks of books. I think this photo will look great on my forthcoming website. Yep, I said website. We're building it right now, and many of these photos will find a home there.

Maybe it's because I've been suffering from the February doldrums, but I was particularly drawn to colorful backgrounds.

This is my absolute favorite photo from the whole shoot, and it will definitely be used on the website. The only frustrating thing about the photo shoot (other than a major shirt malfunction that we didn't discover until after the shoot) was the fact that almost every location I wanted to use had a big ol' truck parked in front of it. That's what I get for wanting to do photo shoot in the middle of a Friday, in the middle of the city. But Opie is a genius, and she figured out how to work around most of the truck problems. You can't tell from the photo, but the photographer is only standing like three feet away from me, in-between two trucks that were parked in this alley. I'm quite impressed by her skills--and her wide angle lens.

We really lucked out with doing an outdoor photo shoot in February. It turned out to be one of the only sunny days in a week full of snow, rain, and wind. But I have to say, it was SOO cold in this alley. I thought I was going to freeze to death leaning against those metal pipes. (And heaven forbid any clothing stores actually sell long-sleeved shirts in the middle of February!)

I love this window! I love the moon in the background, and the colors. This is so perfect for the feel of my book. Plus, there's a stained glass window in my book that holds an important clue to the plot.

This is another location that was hampered by parked trucks. We ended up coming back here at the end of the shoot, and a nice guy in an air conditioning van very kindly waited for us to take a few shots before pulling forward to park. This picture was a strong contender in the fight to become my official author picture, but alas, it lost out.

I saw this red wall in Opie's online portfolio, and I knew that I HAD to do some of my pictures there. If you don't know this about me--then you probably haven't been to my house--I LOVE the color red. After an afternoon of dealing with peskily parked trucks, I was extremely relieved when Opie said, "Let's head over to that red wall. And don't worry, it's at an abandoned warehouse, and I've NEVER seen a car parked there."

So we headed over there only to discover dozens of cars, trucks, trailers, ambulances, squad cars, and people all parked right in front of the infamous red wall. Turns out someone was filming a movie at the warehouse--and a fire scene too! Opie was shocked, and I was about ready to scream/and/or/cry. But we were determined not to be deterred. Opie used her wide angled lens and stood between the parked cars and took these photos while standing only a couple of feet away from me. All the while we endured side-long glances from security, and people mumbling to each other, "Is this for the movie?"

All in all, this "trespassing to get the perfect shot" experience went over pretty well. (Have I ever told you about the time I had dogs sicked on me while I was getting my bridal portraits done? You've never seen a woman in a wedding dress look so freaked out.) And the pay off was totally worth it to me. I think we got some of the best shots at this location.

This is a fun pic that probably won't make it onto the website, so I wanted to feature it here. In case you are wondering--and I KNOW you are wondering--where I got those fabulous yellow shoes, they're from my friend Sara's shoe biz:

This photo won the bronze medal for the honor of being my "official" author picture. I loved the face, but I wasn't too crazy about my purply fist on my leg. Did I mention it was cold?

This pic came in second place. It was neck and neck there for awhile. Again, not too crazy with the hand. In the end, I thought my official "back of the book" picture should be a little more focused on my face.

And here we have it, the official author photo. My face to the literary world. Too bad I don't always look like this after a long day of hammering out dialogue on my computer!

So what do you think? Did I make the right choice?

And profuse THANK YOUs go out to:

1. Opie. You rock!
2. Laura at Studio L in Holladay, for making my hair look so great, and for glamming up my make-up.
3. My mom, for helping with my make-up, and coming along on the shoot to make sure I stood up straight. It was like middle school all over again! J/K. Long days of working over a laptop computer are murder on my posture.
4. My sister, for watching the kiddies while I pretended to be a model for a day.
5. And Hubby, for putting up with all my freaking outs, and for not choking on the price tags of my shirts. Love you! And thanks for the cute V-day surprise necklace. It looks great in the pics.