Thursday, July 30, 2009

Winner of the ARC Giveaway . . .And the Reason I Should Have Listened to Frau Pond in High School

So first things first, the winner of the Countdown To The Dark Divine ARC Giveaway is: Sab H.
Update: Forgot to post the winner of THE ACTOR AND THE HOUSEWIFE. Sorry! The winner is NICOLE--my very first follower ever!

(Email me at readbree(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address and I'll sent the ARC your way.)

Thanks everyone for participating! I just got word from my publisher that they might me send me a few more ARCs, so hopefully we can do this again soon.

Secondly, after looking over the votes, It looks like Nathan and Talbot were neck and neck. I love how opinionated you guys are about your names! I'm leaning toward naming the character Nathan Talbot, but calling him Talbot--and possibly Tal for short. What do you guys think? (Okay, hopefully nobody hates me! I promise to save Ramses for something in the future.)

So what does Frau Pond, my slightly crazy (okay uber-crazy) German teacher from high school have to do with this blog post?

Well, you know how language teachers insist on talking to you only in the language you are supposed to be learning? And you know how there's always that one kid in your class that always looks completely lost, and the teacher tries to ask her questions in German/French/Spanish/Whatever and she just stares blankly back at the teacher, so then the teacher just keeps asking the question louder and louder, and the student turns all red and still has no idea what the teacher is saying, so then they teacher starts making gestures with her arms that vaguely look like she's milking a 30 foot cow, and then suddenly everyone is laughing, and the teacher starts shrieking (finally in English), "I asked you about the water buffaloes?! Why do you not understand about the 'water buffaloes'?!" and the student still has NO IDEA what the heck she's talking about . . .??

Yeah, so that student was totally me. Poor Frau Pond tried her hardest, but no matter how loud she shrieked at me about those darn water buffaloes (do they even have water buffalo in Germany?!), I still couldn't figure out a word she was saying. . .

Which I now totally regret because when my book comes out German, I will have no idea what Grace says to Daniel after the first time they kiss . . .

But anyway, we sold German rights!!! Squuueeee!!! Which means my book will be coming out in Germany some time in 2010. Hopefully, this will be the first of many forgein rights deals (*crossing fingers, knocking on wood*--which kind of hurts, btw).

And maybe, just maybe, I'll wrap up a copy of the German version of THE DARK DIVINE and send it to Frau Pond with an apology note about the water buffaloes. . . .

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Countdown To The Dark Divine Contest: Help me name a new character and you might win an ARC edition.

First item of business: The 2nd winner of the Random Things Giveaway is californiameaghan!

Email me at readbree(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll send you list of your choices from the Random Prize Grab-Bag.

Last week's Random Things winner, Taschima Cullen, chose a signed copy of WINGS by Aprilynne Pike.

(The Random Things Contest is now closed.)

Okay, on with the post:

So does anyone know how it got to be the 22nd again already? Seriously, the time is ticking away until the release of THE DARK DIVINE. We're down to 5 months already!!! The weirdest part about getting closer to the release date (December 22nd, btw) is knowing that advanced copies of my book are being sent out to reviewers, and people--real people, not just my writer friends--are possibly reading my book right at this very moment.





Okay, primal scream moment over. *Shaking it off*

Back to the post . . .What was I saying? Oh yeah. Reviewers and other such super awesome people are reading my book. In fact, I recently got my first written review on GoodReads. In honor of it being the first, I thought I would share it with you all.

This was written by Sarah Steele, one of the fabulous winners from last month's Countdown To The Dark Divine Contest ARC Giveaway:

"Okay I was SUPER excited to read this book and when I won and ARC from the author's blog, I absolutely was not disappointed!!!! (Apologies to the author for comparing her great novel to "Twilight." I don't mean it as an insult.) Basically if you loved "Twilight," you'll also love this book. And if you despised "Twilight," you'll probably also love this book and after reading it you'll think, "Wow, Stephenie Meyer could stand to learn a few things from Bree Despain." Seriously. Read this book."

How sweet is that?! Thanks, Sarah!

Sarah's review put me in such a good mood, I've decided to give away another one of my ARCs as part of this month's Countdown To The Dark Divine Contest.

(Note to new readers: The CTTDDC is a special contest I run on the 22nd of each month leading up to the release of my book on 12/22/09. So be sure to come back each 22nd for you chance to win a neat prize.)

However, there's no such thing as a free lunch. You've got to do a little work for me in order to get an entry in the contest.

So here's the deal. I'm working on the sequel for TDD, and I've dreamed up a new character. He's hot, cocky, has paranormal superpowers (sorry, can't tell you what kind), and is possibly going to be British. He's the kind of guy you LOVE to hate, and hate yourself for loving. But, sadly, he still doesn't have a name. This where I need a little help from my friends. Which of the following names do you think is best for the hot paranormal jerk:

A. Nathan
B. Talbot
C. Ramses

Cast your vote in the comments, and I'll enter you in the contest to win a signed ARC of THE DARK DIVINE. Our second place winner will get a signed copy of Shannon Hale's THE ACTOR AND THE HOUSEWIFE.
Contest ends at 11:59 pm on July 29th.

Disclaimer: I'm leaning toward one of the names already, so I may or may not go with the outcome of this contest . . .but my decision will probably be swayed if enough of you agree on a different choice.

(Note: This contest is only open to blog followers, so if you're not a follower . . .um, start following ;) )

Oh, and one more thing. YA author James Dashner gave me a shout-out on his blog, so I'm returning the favor. He's giving away an ARC of his awesome upcoming YA novel, THE MAZE RUNNER, on his blog, so you should pop over there and check it out. (After you leave a comment here, of course.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Shower Epiphanies and Little Bit More Randomness

So I've decided to just embrace the whole "so" thing and start all my blog posts with the word "so." So . . .um . . .on with the blog post . . .I guess . . . .

So today I had one of those perfect moments that every writer dreams of having. The kind of moment that changes your course in a story forever. . . and in essence also changes your life. It's the kind of moment that you'll share over and over again when people ask "so how did you get the idea for your book." The kind of moment an author never forgets. For THE DARK DIVINE that moment came one dark night in January of 2005 when I was riding in the car and looked up at a billboard and a conversation between a brother and and sister popped into my mind. Today, that moment came in the shower.

Yep, I had a shower epiphany. (Aren't those the best kind?)

So I was standing in the shower this morning, thinking about my current frustrations with my sequel, wondering if my ideas would ever come together into an actual book, and if the writing of THE DARK DIVINE was a complete and total fluke, and perhaps I was never really meant to be a writer in the first place . . .when all of a sudden somewhere between rinsing out the conditioner in my hair and washing my face, the absolute perfect image for the ending of my sequel popped into my head. And no sooner did that image of a scene flash through my mind, then tons of other scenes before and after that one flooded my thoughts.

Yeah, that's pretty much when I started jumping up and down in the shower yelling, "I've got it! I've got it! I've got it!" And my husband, who was in the closet picking out church clothes was like, "What on Earth?" and then he was like, "Hey, can you do that jumping thing again . . . ?"

Okay, sorry for the tmi . . .

Anyway, so I got out of the shower and followed my husband around while we got ready for church and told him all of my ideas. And the more I talked, the more ideas came. Then hubby (amazing man that he is) grabbed a notebook and pen and ordered me to start writing everything down while he got the kids dressed and fed. I took the notebook with me and kept on writing through church and by the end of the 3 hours, I had my plot--and a lead in for a 3rd book. (Woo Hoo!!!)

Sorry to be a bad example for the kiddies (the writing in church bit) but I truly believe moments like that are gifts from God, and you have to roll with them when they come. So if God chooses to hit me with the perfect plot idea 45 minutes before church, I imagine he's okay with me writing during the sermon :-D (And don't think I didn't say any prayers of thanks!)

Okay, okay, enough with the warm fuzzies. On to the randomness! I had so much fun with all of your random things last week (man, some of you guys are almost even weirder than I am) I have decided to share a few more random things . . .and give away more random prizes.

So to continue on with last week's list:

8. (I shared this in the comments, but I'll repeat it here for the list.) I don't like when people (or pretty much anything) touch/s my neck. My siblings would always torture me with threats of "I'll touch your neck if you don't give me your candy!" or something like that. And my hairdresser always laughs at me because I can't stand that cape she snaps around my neck.

9. I can't sing, and I HATE singing. (At least in the traditional sense). Yet I seem to have a running soundtrack to my life. I'm always making up little random songs about what I'm doing, or things that my kids do--and singing them out loud. Little diddies like, "Stinky poops baby," sung as a rock ballad is one of my particular favorites. KidZ loves it. KidA screams, "Stop singing!" at me. And when I say, "But singing makes me happy," he responds with, "You're not allowed to be happy!" Party pooper.

10. Someday, if I sell enough books, I'm going to buy myself a Mustang. (The car, not a horse. Though I've always wanted a horse . . .) I think Mustangs are hot. Totally impractical for a mother of 2, but I want one as a third car just for me. (Sorry, hubby, no touchy.) Every time I write a hot guy in a book, I always want him to drive a vintage Mustang. Swoon.

11. I'm a citizen of both New Zealand and the USA. My dad was born and raised in NZ to American parents. He moved to the US as a teenager, so I'm citizen of both by default. And I LOVE New Zealand. It is truly paradise on Earth. I fully plan on retiring there someday.

12. I once went to a royal ball in an Austrian palace. In high school, I was a student ambassador for the United States. I got to travel to Hungary, Austria, and Italy and do some really amazing stuff. The ball was probably the best of all. Women get really dressed up for those things. I even saw this one lady with a trellis of roses weaved into her hair. And in case you're interested, I've already started writing a novel based on my trip.

Okay, that's enough random things about Bree for this week. I'll get to 25--eventually. I promise.

Anyway, the winner of last weeks Random Gift from the Random Gift Grab Bag is: Taschima Cullen
Email me at readbree (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll send you a list of prizes to choose from.

But the giveaway is still ongoing, so tell me another something random about yourself and you'll get another entry into the contest. (You can win an autographed book from the grab-bag!)

Oh yeah, and here's a little present for putting up with this very long, random post:

Yes, that is the infamous duct tape dress. Sorry for the fuzziness. I still don't have a scanner, so this is a photograph of a photograph. Ah, to be 18 again.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Random Acts of . . .um . . .Randomness . . .

So I've been working on answering questions for a blogger who is doing an interview with me to celebrate the release of THE DARK DIVINE in December, and the first item on the list of questions was: "Can you tell us something random about yourself?" Which basically sent my mind a whirling with all of the random things about myself (I am a neurotic writer, after all) and wondering how I can possibly cut the list down to just ONE.

And then I remembered like FOREVER AGO, when everybody I'd ever met sent me one of those "25 Random Things About Me" messages on Facebook, but because I'm so totally Facebook stupid, I could never figure out how to do it.

And then I was reading a friend's blog today where he asked people to tell him something odd about themselves, which got me totally thinking about the million odd things about myself (I am a neurotic writer, after all . . .wait, did I say that already?), and I figured all this thinking about randomness and oddities should probably be channeled into some sort of blog post. . . .

So without any (more) ado, I present "25 Random Things About Bree" (or as many random things I can list before I get hungry and go looking for a snack):

1. I'm very superstitious. I'm constantly afraid of jinxing myself. Which is probably why I'm so tight lipped about good news. And you've probably never met anyone who knocks on wood as much as I do. And if you happen to say something jinx-worthy in my presence, I WILL make you knock on wood.

2. I can't stand the color peach. I will not wear it, nor can I stand to spend much time in a room with peach walls. It stems from my childhood when I wanted my parents to paint my room pink, but instead they painted my sister's room pink, and then painted my room peach and mint green. My mom bought me peach and green bedding, and decorated my room with peach and green paintings. And if that wasn't peachy enough, she kept buying me peach outfits so I'd match my room. About 20 years later, my mom apologized to me for all the peach after she went to a feng shui workshop and learned that you should NEVER decorate with the color peach because it makes people irritable. (Which apparently explains most of my behavior as a child??)

3. I have a dress made entirely out of duct tape. My husband made it for me back when we were (just) friends in high school. He also made himself a three piece suit out of duct tape, and then we wore them to a school dance. If only I had a scanner, I could show you all the pics. (Hint, hint, Hubby.)

4. I'm a tab bit OCD when it comes to locked doors. Before I go to bed at night, I MUST check every single lock. That might not seems all that strange, but I don't just look at each lock, I have to touch each lock in order to prove to myself that each door is actually locked. I try to content myself with just staring at the locked lock from the end of the hall, but nine times out of ten, I know won't sleep unless I go touch the lock. Yeah, I know, I'm weird.

5. I hate potty training. I'd rather be water-boarded, or sit in that roach tank from Fear Factor, than potty train my children. I offered my sister $200 to potty train Kid A for me, but she just laughed. And I even tried to convince Egmont that they should send one of their interns down to do the job while I write my sequel (hey, publishers do random stuff like that for their authors in the movies). But since nobody took the job, I embarked--begrudgingly--on the task this afternoon. Here are the stats from today's potty training session: Times Kid A sat on the potty: 19. Times Kid A peed in the potty: 0. Times Kid A peed on the floor: 5.


6. I apparently start almost every blog post with the word "So." I'm thinking of just going with it and making it my signature bloggy thing.

7. I'm a Buffy the Vampire Slayer addict. I've seen the entire 7 seasons all the way through at least 3 times. We're starting in on the fourth go around. (There's nothing on TV this Summer!!)


Um, wow, this takes a lot of time and I'm totally getting hungry . . .and hubby just turned on Buffy so I think I'm gunna call it a night. Perhaps I'll share more random things later this week (If y'all want to hear any more?).

And for putting up with all my randomness, I'll reward you all with a random contest: Tell me something random about yourself in the comments, and I'll enter you into a drawing to win a random prize from my random prize grab-bag (which contains autographed books!). So comment away!!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Because I'm Cranky as H-E-Double Hockey Sticks and I Don't Have Any Chocolate

So somewhere in the holiday hubbub of fireworks, BBQs, mosquito bites, and watching kids get freaked out by clowns, I forgot to go grocery shopping for Sunday dinner. A fact that didn't fully dawn on me until about 5:45 p.m. when the kids started whining about being hungry and I realized that there was just about absolutely nothing in my kitchen. Which means that for dinner I had 2 thin slices of Deli Select ham, a handful of freezer burned french fries we found while spelunking in the back of the freezer, and some sort of hash Hubby made out of 8-month-old Sunshine Veggie Burger patties that we found behind the fries. Needless to say, I am still hungry. And when I get hungry, I get cranky (I blame the hypoglycemia . . .but any who . . ), and when I get cranky I NEED chocolate . . .but since I don't have any chocolate on my bare cupboard shelves, I've decided to dedicate today's blog to things that make me smile, so that I can cheer myself up before I just stand up in my chair and start screaming like this kid:

Yeah, that's pretty much how I feel at the moment. Did I mention that hunger makes me a bit woozy?

Anyway, here are the top ten things that made me happy this week:

10. That video from above. If you didn't watch it, go back and check it out.

9. My Sister-Author, Brodi Ashton. If you're not following her blog . . .do it now! (No wait, finish reading this post and then go check out her blog.) Brodi just makes me laugh so hard, plus she's like 7% crazier than I am, so I always find that a bit reassuring.

8. Writing on Wednesdays. I've started meeting a small group of author/writer friends at the library each Wednesday for a marathon writing session, and then we go out to lunch to reward ourselves for working hard. There's nothing like hanging out with other writers on a weekly basis to make you feel almost sane.

7. Amazing YA author and BFF, Emily Wing Smith, is thinking about moving to somewhere near my neighborhood. The idea is that she'll live close to me so I can drive her around to places like the grocery store (she has major parking issues), and she'll babysit my kids when I go on tour for THE DARK DIVINE. (Or maybe I made that last part up and she has no idea that living in my neighborhood means I'll be hitting her up for free babysitting. Shhhh . . .don't tell.)

6. This week I got both an iPhone (used) and a Netbook (not used) and I'm totally in love with both gadgets. Especially the iPhone. I finally get why people like to text each other. It's really fun. . .and so is the Twitter from your phone feature. Hubby says I'm becoming a twitter addict, but I'm not. I mean, I can totally quit at any time. Really, I can. Wait, 6 new tweets! I'll be right back . . . .

5. Author buddy, James Dashner, lent me one of his ARCs of THE MAZE RUNNER. Distopian futuristic YA meets LOST . . .yeah, that makes me happy.

4. This little incident with KidA: I was lounging on the bed this afternoon reading MAZE RUNNER when KidZ came busting into my room saying, "Mom, KidA is pouring water on his carpet!" I went to investigate and found that KidA had spent the last few minutes filling up a plastic cup in the bathroom sink and then dumping the water on everything in his room (carpet, blankets, his pillow).

Me: "KidA, what are you doing?"

KidA: "Pouring water on my room."

Me: "Why would you do that?"

KidA: "So the mosquitoes won't get my Jesus book."

Okay, so as I spent the next 30 minutes soaking up all the water out of the carpet, I failed to see the humor in this, but now that KidA is safely tucked away in his bed, I have to admit that looking back on this makes me chuckle.

3. THE GUILD. So somehow I was talked/forced into being the new assistant cub scout leader for my church (don't ask) and after sitting through my very first pack meeting for over an hour on Monday, I came home to Hubby's latest Internet discovery called THE GUILD. It's a web-series about a group of online gaming addicts struggling to deal with real life issues. It makes me laugh so hard, I just have to share it with you.

2. Hubby just magically produced an entire box of Dove Dark Chocolate!!!

1. Forget #1, I've got chocolate!!! All is right in the world again. I'm off to watch THE GUILD, or read some more MAZE RUNNER, and make a second dinner out of dark chocolate deliciousness. My doctor would be so thrilled . . .

Anyway, what made you happy this week?