Friday, October 30, 2009

Countdown Contest Winners!

Hey all,

So this is just a quick post to announce the winners of the TDD Countdown Contest. Things are crazy with the sequel writing and Halloween festivities, and we're finalizing the street team, so I apologize about this post being brief. But I promise a better post soon, complete with videos and Halloween pics.

Without any more ado, I give you the winners:

Grand Prize winner of WAR DANCES and THE MAZE RUNNER is: Chase92

Prize #2 of ONCE WAS LOST: Cari

Prize #3 of HUSH HUSH: The Book Vixen

Winners, email me at readbree(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address and I'll get your prize off in the mail.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Countdown To The Dark Divine Contest: Help me title my new book!

(Note: If you came here looking for info about the street team, click here.)

Shout outs to some awesome friends:

1. Congratulations to bff Emily Wing Smith for winning The Utah Book award for her exceptional YA novel THE WAY HE LIVED. The awards ceremony was neat, and our adventures afterward were some of our wackiest--complete with blood, gore, cheesecake, and Brodi Ashton walking barefoot down 4th South and me screaming things like, "Don't smell that, you might get hepatitis!" I'm sure Brodi will blog about it in much funnier ways than me, so be sure to pop over there.

2. Congrats to James Dashner and his whirl-wind tour of the USA to promote his new book THE MAZE RUNNER. Plus, he was featured in two articles in PW Daily yesterday, and according to them, the book is doing A-Mazing.

3. And huge congrats to new friend Becca Fitzpatrick whose novel HUSH HUSH is debuting at #10 on the NYT bestseller list!!! YAY! She'll be signing at several Utah Costcos over the weekend, so if you are in the area, check out her schedule here.

Shout out for myself:

Did you guys see my beautiful ad in PW Daily? It's run three times over the last week. It's so beautiful. Click here to see it, then scroll down until you see it in its purple glory.

Okay, on with actual post:


So, this next month is going to be a bit crazy. I am attempting to finish the first draft of the sequel to The Dark Divine in the next 32 days. As a result, my brain power failing....words not coming.... loosing ability to type...

Sooooo, yeah. The rest of this blog post will be short and too the point (I hope) and my posts will likely be a bit sparse between now and November 23rd. Never fear, though. The Street Team will still be announced a couple days after the deadline (which is the October 26th btw if you have not yet applied. And if you haven't applied, why not? And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, click here).

Ok, on to the point. Time to celebrate only 2 months left! This month the prizes are as follows:

Prize #1: signed copy of WAR DANCES by Sherman Alexie, and a signed copy of THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner
Prize #2: signed copy of ONCE WAS LOST by Sara Zarr
Prize #3: signed copy of HUSH HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick

So here's what you gotta do for me if you want to be entered in the contest. As I mentioned, I am in the middle of writing the sequel to THE DARK DIVINE. I am loving spending more time with the characters from TDD and am very excited about where the story is going, but here's the deal, it doesn't have a title yet. Got any suggestions? (No titles with spoilers please!) (UPDATE: I'm thinking of things that either play of the words "dark" or "divine" or "desire" or "Grace" or "temptation" or some variation of similar words--yet not something that sounds like a steamy Harlequin romance novel.) Post a comment to be entered into the contest. Rules are below:

1.) Must be a follower of the blog and post a comment to qualify (UPDATE: You don't have to suggest a book title . . . you can always just say"hi")
2.) Answer question = 1pt
3.) Already a follow of blog = 2pt, Become a follower = 1pt
4.) Already a twitter follower = 2pt, Become a twitter follower = 1pt
5.) Tweet contest = 1pt.
6.) Post contest on your blog = 1pt

The contest ends at 11:59 pm on October 28th. Winners will be announced sometime within the next two days after that. . . I promise . . . assuming I'm still alive.

Okay, back to my writing cave. And don't forget to spread the word about the STREET TEAM!!! We need you!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Help Wanted: What Would You Do For THE DARK DIVINE?

So a couple of months ago, I went to a writing conference and work-shopped a few sample pages from my sequel to TDD. I met a lot of new friends in my workshop group, including a sarcastically funny guy named Douglas Cootey. Ever since the conference, my workshop buddies have been trying to get me to give them one of my ARCs of THE DARK DIVINE. (Hopefully, this means they got hooked by the 1st chapter of the sequel *fingers crossed.*) A few of them tried to bribe me with with promises of wheat/dairy/egg free chocolate chip banana bread (Hey, I'm still waiting for someone to deliver on that one! :D), and then Douglas Cootey asked if I would give him a autographed copy of my book if he "squeed" in public for it.

I thought he was kidding, so I said "Sure, go for it. Oh, but you have to wear TDD purple nail polish and post a video of it online." However, much to my delight, Douglas was 100% serious. He (with the help of his very cool teenage daughters) went down to the Gateway Mall and publicly SQUEED (several times, I might add) for THE DARK DIVINE, and then posted this video for your viewing pleasure.

Wow, Douglas, you and your daughters definitely earned an autographed copy of THE DARK DIVINE. Seriously, hats off to you, my friend.

Also, my friends from The Inking Cap have been wearing my TDD purple nail polish all around town in an effort to promote THE DARK DIVINE. Every time someone comments about their beautiful purple toes, they tell them "This is Bree Despain purple! You should go check out her website." They have even decided to take pictures of their purple toes at interesting locations. One of the Inkers promised to get a pic of her TDD toes while meeting with the governor, and another Inker (Debbie) took a picture of her foot at James Dashner's launch party for The Maze Runner (in stores now... go buy it... it's really good!)

Well, both Douglas and The Inkers' efforts to get the word out about THE DARK DIVINE has inspired a whole new idea that I need YOUR help with.

So here's the idea: We all know that word-of-mouth is extremely important for the success of any book, right? But word-of-mouth doesn't really work without you. Yes... if you are reading this, I am talking to YOU. You are really important to this effort. In fact you ARE this effort. I am looking for 10 or 15 friends and fans (or potential fans if you are just excited for the book but haven't read it yet) to join a VIP group to help me spread the word. That's right, I'm recruiting you to join my street team: The Divine Underground (or some other name you guys think would be cooler. I'm still on the fence about that name :D).

As a member of (insert street team name here) you will get some pretty cool stuff. For example, the list of items you will receive currently includes*:

100 TDD bookmarks
100 TDD stickers
10 TDD cards
1 TDD Soundtrack
1 TDD nail polish
1 TDD Street Team T-shirt
1 signed ARC of The Dark Divine!

What will one do with all this abundance of SWAG? Why, share it of course! As a member of the team I ask you to utilize the tools given to you to do the following:

1. Read the book
2. Love the book. This is very important. I need people who love the book to share their enthusiasm with others if this is going to work. I know not everyone will love the book though (that would be impossible), so if you do not love the book after reading it, you can opt out of the team.** If you have already read the book and love the book, that's even better. You can skip straight to step three. Which is:
3. Use the materials given to you to promote the book with family, friends, perfect strangers, etc. both online and offline.
4. Tell your local bookstores and school about the book and me. Maybe even mention that you'd really like for them to have me come out for an author visit or signing.
5. Document your efforts to spread the word about TDD. Take pictures, make videos, blog, and vlog. Tell me about your efforts and I will post your pics and videos here on my blog.

Once you are a member of the street team, you will get further instructions and ideas. The street team campaign will start at the end of October and run through Valentine's day, and will involve biweekly challenges for additional prizes.

The street team member with the best "get the word out about THE DARK DIVINE" campaign at the end of February will win the GRAND PRIZE: Have a character in the TDD sequel named after you, or a name of your choosing. (Sorry, nothing obscene or overly bizarre.)

Ok, so now you're asking, "How does one become a member of this elite and socially upward group?" Good question.

Well, the first step is to go read the first chapter of TDD here. If after reading the first chapter, this seems like the kind of book you would really like, then move on to step 2.

The second step is to apply. I know, it makes it sound all snooty, but really it's to help me get a better feel for who will be a part of the group, and I can't let EVERYONE join (I just don't have that many bookmarks, or ARCs for that matter). Fill out the attached application and release form, then scan and email them back to me-- readbree(at)gmail(dot)com. Or you can snail mail it to me at:

Bree Despain
P.O. Box 95316
South Jordan, Utah 84095

You must sign the release form, or have your parent sign it if you are under the age of 18 (for all those legal-schmegal reasons.)


Release Form

Ok, you've got part one and two done now. The third and last step is the fun one. To complete your application to join the street team, you must submit a vlog or YouTube video or email answering the question "What would you do for The Dark Divine?" You can answer this either by one of two ways:

1.) completing a task that is fun and entertaining while expressing your desire for The Dark Divine.*** (Think of Doug while brainstorming ideas.)


2.) explaining and outlining what you will do with the materials given you to a.) promote and spread the word about The Dark Divine, and b.) have a ton of fun while doing it!

If you don't have access to a video camera, you can email me with the second option above (But Hint Hint: Creativity and zaniness will get you more brownie points). Submit all videos and emails to readbree(at)gmail(dot)com.

Current deadline for submitting your full application (including your What Would You Do video or email) is October 26st. (So if you are sending anything by snail mail, you will probably want to get it in the mail by the 22nd.)

If you don't know if being a street team member is for you, but you know a teenager and/or book-lover who would enjoy it, then pass the word on to them. ARCs and supplies are limited, so please only apply if you are dedicated to spreading the word about TDD.

Good luck! and THANK YOU!!!

*Contents of the street team package are subject to change... probably for the better though... and you'll definitely still get the ARC no matter what.

**If you wish to opt out of the street team, I would ask that you return the bookmarks, stickers, cards, and the ARC so we can find a new team member and supply them with the same printed materials. You can find my mailing address on under "contact" on my website.

***Please nothing obscene OR illegal!! I want to post some of these videos on my blog and I don't want you to get in trouble, either :D.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Contest Winner, and Author Events Galore!

First Thing: The winner of the Denver goodies giveaway is: thetruebookaddict

(Email me at readbree at gmail dot com with your mailing address, and I'll send you your prizes)

Now on with the post:

I love autumn. September rainstorms. The smell of fallen leaves. Anticipating Halloween. Cool jacket weather air that gives me the perfect excuse to buy more jackets . . . And the beginning of a whole new season of book releases. And one of the highlights of this autumn has been getting to go to my local Indie bookstore, The King's English, for the launch parties and signings for a few of my favorite authors. In fact, I have been to TKE for an author event 4 times in the last 4 weeks. I'm sure the ladies of TKE would get totally sick of seeing my face--except that I spend a small fortune every time I walk through their doors. (After all, I MUST pick up autographed books for my blog readers, right? At least that's what I tell hubby . . .)

In September, I went to Shannon Hale's launch party for FOREST BORN with Brodi Ashton and Hubby. Shannon did a great presentation. She's one entertaining lady. And because she is such a rock star, we had to take a number in order to get our books signed. My number was so far down the list that hubby and I went out and ran errands, then went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants (Mazza--yum!) and then went back to TKE and still had to wait 20 minutes in line before we got our books signed. Wow, now that means you've definitely made it as an author. Congrats, Shannon!

Also in September, I was invited to a signing for Debutante author Michelle Zink (PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS) by another Deb, Sydney Salter. Michelle did an amazing book talk and I wished I'd had a a notebook handy so I could have written down some pointers on how to be an engaging speaker. I absolutely loved how she handled to Q&A portion of her talk. For every question someone asked her, she then asked the audience a question (after answering the question addressed to her, of course). Apparently, she asked the same book-related questions to each of her audiences during her tour, and then compiled the answers on her blog here. I thought this was a great way to engage her readers, and I think she ended up with some interesting feedback.

After the signing, I got to go out to dessert with Michelle, Sydney, James Dashner, and SpeedReader (one of the cutest bloggers on the planet--from My Favorite Author), along with a few of Michelle's family members who live in Utah. (Did you know that Michelle is originally from Utah? Dude, Utah really does rock when it comes to the YA scene.) It was so fun to get to know Michelle, and she even gave me a few pointers about what to expect at my first bookseller dinner.

October started off in a great way with a launch party for Sara Zarr's ONCE WAS LOST on the very first day of the month. It was a great event. I absolutely love listening to Sara speak, and Emily Wing Smith made some awesome cookies in honor of Sara's book cover. (At least I can say that they looked awesome since I couldn't actually eat any of them.)

Sara told us about how her book was inspired by the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping, and by her own struggles with faith--which only made me want to read the book more.

After the event, we went over to The Dodo restaurant for dessert (again, I had a fruit plate). The group included Sara Zarr, her hubby, Matt Kirby, Emily Wing Smith, Dan Smith (Em's hubby), Sarah Dufford Williams, a very nice writer named Melinda (sorry can't remember her last name), Valynne Maetani Nagamatsu, Sara Bolton, Brodi Ashton, and James Dashner. Wow, that was a big group! I'd recount our wacky antics and conversations, but Brodi has (of course) already done a hilarious recap here--so you should go check that out.

Only five days later, I found myself back at TKE for the launch party for James Dashner's THE MAZE RUNNER. The evening started off a little harried when a semi rolled over on the the freeway, making Hubby and I almost a half hour late with all the traffic delays. Luckily, they started the event late so I didn't miss any of James's book talk. It was so fun to sit in the audience and listen to some of his die hard 13TH REALITY fans ask him questions. They are a dedicated group! One 10 year old boy almost acted as if James's decision to write THE MAZE RUNNER was an act of treason.

Aside from watching a dear friend finally launch his much anticipated book, the best part of the night was getting to see the bloggers from The Inking Cap who I'd met at the Writing for Charity event back August. I'd given them each a bottle of THE DARK DIVINE nail polish--which they were all wearing on their toes at James's party! They even took a picture of one of them attempting to kick James in the head with her painted toes--which I would show you now, but nobody has sent to me a copy of it yet. (Hint. HINT.)
Update: Hinting worked! Here's the pic of Debbie from The Inking Cap kicking James with her Dark Divine toes. Though for some reason the polish shows up pink in photos rather than purple. Oh, and I guess she's kicking him in the shoulder and not the head, but still, it's pretty cool.

After this event, we went to The Dodo again, but this time we got dinner. The group was me, Hubby, Sara Bolton, Valynne, Brodi, Emily Wing Smith, and another friend of mine named Emily Allen (who was an old college friend of James's, and she informed us that back in the day, James used to go by the name Jamie. So be sure to call him that the next time you see him. He'll just LOVE it.) James (ehem, Jamie) even graced us with his presence for a few minutes before he left to go pack for his whirl-wind national book tour. See you in a month, James!
Me, looking slightly demented, and kind of gargantuan compared to James (center--duh, I guess) and Brodi.

Emily Wing Smith, Valynne Maetani Nagamatsu, and Sara Bolton
Valynne, Emily, Brodi, and Me (looking almost as demented, but less gargantuan)

Besides the semi truck rollover, the $25 parking ticket I got at TKE, the driving debacle that got us home at 10:15 pm despite the fact that we left the restaurant at 8:30 pm (don't ask), it was a great night. And once again, for a much funnier take on the evening, visit Brodi's recap of the night here. (Thanks for always posting the funny stuff before I get to it, Bro. You are a better blogger than I.)

So that's my month of author events so far. Did I mention I'm going to The King's English again this Wednesday to hear Sherman Alexie speak about his new book WAR DANCES? Now if only I were cool enough to get him to go share a fruit plate with me at The Dodo afterward. Hmmm, perhaps that should be my new mission in life. Operation: Get Sherman To Have Dessert With Me. I'll report next week on how it goes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Denver Post (A.K.A. I got a lot of really cool stuff that I'm giving away)

Update: This contest is now closed.

So here's what I have to say about my trip to Denver for the Mountain & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Expo: FREAKING AWESOME!

Seriously, it was one of those once in a lifetime moments that I'll remember forever. I was so so nervous, but it was still really really cool. I got into Denver around 11:30 am and then met my marketing director, Mary, for lunch, along with 2 other Egmont authors: Lindsay Eland from the 10ers, author of SCONES AND SENSIBILITY, and Victoria Hanley, author of VIOLET WINGS, for lunch.

Then Lindsay and I met Becca Fitzpatrick at the trade show and walked around to check out all the publisher's booths. Not only was my book prominently displayed at the Egmont booth, but it was also displayed at the Random House booth with a big poster with the cover and my author photo on it that said, "Author signing tonight." That was really surreal to see and I couldn't resist taking a picture of it.
(Also couldn't help snapping a pic of THE DARK DIVINE displayed with friend James Dashner's THE MAZE RUNNER--which launches tomorrow, October 6th, btw!)
After the book fair, we went to a signing reception/charity event. Each of us authors sat at a table and signed books for 2 HOURS!! Mary kept bringing me water while I was signing, and about a 1 1/2 into it, I really had to pee! It is really hard to smile and nod and and talk to booksellers when you are afraid that you are about to wet your pants.

After the signing, we drove out to The Brown Palace (a Victorian hotel built by The Unsinkable Molly Brown in the 1890s) in downtown Denver for the most amazing dinner. It was me, Lindsay, Victoria, Mary, and 9 key booksellers from Texas, Arizona, and Colorado. They did a cocktail hour before hand, and then we ate a 5 course meal in a private dining room. The food was absolutely amazing and I loved how everything was served, and how cool the room was. There were these fabric murals on the wall from the 1890s (the only one's like them left in the USA are in the White House) and the table and chairs were very Victorian meets Art Deco, but the food was all very progressive and delicious. They even had a separate Bree-friendly menu just for me.

The booksellers were all really cool, and they kept raving about how this was one of the best/most memorable publisher dinners they'd ever been to. The event went from 7:00 until 11:30 pm, and nobody wanted to leave when it was time to go. It was so awesome to get to talk with all of those booksellers, and I even had quite a lengthy discussion with a bookseller from Changing Hands about how I someday want to write a book about the Armenian genocide. It was just one of those nights that you want to last twice as long. I remember sighing after it was all over and thinking how awesome it was have that experience . . . and then sighing again because I realized that many authors might not ever have an experience like that. I'm feeling very blessed at the moment.
(Lindsay Eland, Becca Fitzpatrick, and me--all holding our books)
And not only was I blessed by a great dinner, but I was also blessed with a bunch of cool swag and goodies that I'm going to pass on to one of you.

The package includes:

A signed hardcopy of HUSH HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick
A beautiful HUSH HUSH locker poster
An ARC of SCONES AND SENSIBILITY by Lindsay Eland (I already have one of my very own, so I'm giving this one away)
SCONES AND SENSIBILITY scone mix! (Wish I could eat these! I bet they're tasty.)
A hardcover copy of VIOLET WINGS by Victoria Hanley
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post. If you need a suggestion of what to say . . . um . . . how about you tell us about the book you're reading right now.

I'm reading THE CLOCKWORK THREE by fellow Tenner Matt Kirby. It doesn't come out until Fall 2010 from Scholastic, but Matt gave me a sneak peak at the manuscript . . . and it's really good! It's a story about 3 teens in an alternate Victorian Boston/NYC, searching for a treasure--complete with a steam-punk talking head and a green violin.