Monday, August 31, 2009

Writing for Charity Event Recap: Who knew it could be so funny?

Happy Monday y'all.

On schedule for this week:

a. My quest to go from "so-not-hot" to "Hott!" begins. Both my boys are in school, and I am determined to lose the flab and earn that extra "t" and exclamation point. Or maybe I'll just sit at my computer and type. Okay, yeah, let's do that.

b. The U.S. Open begins today, and you know what that means... Rafa coverage. No complaints!

Writing for Charity breakdown:

The Writing for Charity event at the Children's Treehouse Museum was a huge success. Filled to capacity. Which was great, until I almost didn't get a spot. I finally had to wave my fifty bucks in the air, shouting, "Why won't you let me give money to the children? Why?!"

For some reason, a spot opened up.
26 or 32 Utah Authors. We're seriously a hotbed.

Main Obversations

1. You guys should get to know Matt Kirby. Not only does he have a huge book coming out in 2010 (The Clockwork Three) he also spontaneously dances upon request.

Case in point: I was telling Matt about a woman at the SCBWI Conference who tried to pick up on me at the Blue Moon Ball. At the ball, I had been demonstrating some totally hott! dance moves from the early 90's (Ants in the Pants and the Roger Rabbit) when this woman, obviously impressed, made her move.

Matt: "How, exactly, did she pick up on you?"

me: "It's hard to explain with words. Here, stand here. [Keep in mind, we are surrounded by mingling authors in the Children's Treehouse Museum] Perfect. Now, start dancing!"

Matt immediately starts stepping side to side, moving to some inaudible soundtrack in his head.
I burst out laughing.

Once I compose myself, I say, "That's good, but your arms are folded. Do it again, and this time get your arms in it."

He did! I never really got the whole story of "The Pick Up" out, but I got to see Matt Kirby dance. So if you happen to meet him, ask him to dance. He will!
Matt Kirby

The photo is a little blurry, because his moves were lightning quick. And because I was laughing.

2. I got to sit next to Brandon Mull, bestselling author of the Fablehaven books, at lunch.

I've never met Brandon before, and I wanted him to sign my first page, so I mentioned it to Emily Wing Smith and she made it happen. (Because my own mouth goes numb when I meet famous authors for the first time. Thereafter, though, my mouth doesn't stop spewing forth word vomit, right James?)

I was so nervous sitting next to him, that I drew all over my white shirt, with blue pen. Yes, I did just post a picture of my chest.

I know one is expected to converse at lunch, but the only topic I could think about was the writing on my chest, and I didn't want Brandon to remember me as the weird chick who kept asking him to look at her chest.

But I had nothing else to say. By this time, James Dashner was calling out across the table to me, something like, "Admit it, Brodi. You didn't know what a 'docent' was, either." (Because James is just random that way).

Since my mouth wasn't working, I tried to give James a look that said, "Of course I know what a docent is!" But I couldn't figure out how to say the "docent" part with just my eyes. So, finally I managed, "Derh. I know what it is."

He thought I was lying.
In order from left to right: Emily Wing Smith, Anne Freakin' Bowen, Bree Despain, James Dashner, Shannon Hale, Matt Kirby, Sara Zarr, Brandon Mull, Sara Bolton.

Other Strange Occurrances at the Event:

*Shannon Hale said most authors, no matter how successful, don't ever feel like they've "made it."

*When asked why she became an author, Jessica Day George said it was either that or become a museum docent.

*Sara Zarr convinced Emily Wing Smith that Billy Joel's spirit was alive inside the museum.

*I saw Leisha Maw and Amy Reall, my peeps from the BYU conference.

*James thinks the word "exacerbate" sounds dirty.

*I refrained from asking Brandon Mull to sign my chest.

*I accidentally printed up my first page on cardstock. Like I thought it was so important, it warranted heavy paper. I had the authors sign it so it looked like I did it on purpose.

* When asked why he writes for kids, Mike Knudsen said, "I write my best, and it comes out at a 4th grade level."

*I almost didn't get in because the desk attendant said I was four minutes late.

*Best advice from Ann Dee Ellis: focus on the writing, above all. The rest will fall into place.

*Best visual aid: Jessica Day George brought a three ring binder with over 180 rejection letters. Never give up!

*I got to read Taylor Maw's first page in his book about aliens. (favorite line: "Space Sucks.")

*After reading my first page, Jessica Day George said she would want to keep reading. Yay.

*The tortilla chips were as big as Bree Despain's head. (But I will add she has an inordinately small head.) *Shannon Hale said Brandon Mull could come to the event, as long as he brought the dimple in his chin.*I lied to James Dashner. I really have no idea what a docent is.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Wanna Meet a Bunch of Authors? and Help Children Read?

Guess where I’m going on Saturday?

Sorry, I should never start a blog with ‘guess where I’m going’. Like anyone could really get the answer right. Like anyone cares enough to make an educated guess.

I should’ve started with, “Anyone want to meet some really cool authors?”

But it’s too late. According to ROB (rules of the blog), I must face the repercussions of my original question.

So, did anyone guess Ogden? And those of you who guessed Ogden, did you further guess the Treehouse Museum?

You did? You win!

I’m going there to get my first page critiqued by some awesome authors, for charity. Wanna mingle with the likes of Shannon Hale, James Dashner, Anne Bowen, Sara Zarr, Emily Wing Smith, Bree Despain and many many more? Then join me!

If you don’t have a first page, type one up. You have almost 24 hours. You can type a page in 24 hours.

Here’s the info:

I tried to take the charity one step further by offering a one-page critique from Smokey the Hairless Cat. But apparently even charity has its limits. (They said that something that ugly could not possibly give a kind critique).

All of the proceeds go to the Treehouse Children’s Museum. Sam complained about me doing yet another writing outing – on a Saturday, no less - to which I responded, “Why do you hate children?”

Hope to see you there!

Wildlife Wandering Past our Blog

Thank you for being kind to the wildlife (yes, you, James) on Wednesday’s blog, and not scaring him away. You can follow more of his hilarity on Twitter (Yesterday, I think he tweeted about a mole, or something). But, as you observe his strange ways, please refrain from feeding the animal.

Conversations with Lucy and Ethel

I went to dinner the other night with “Lucy” and “Ethel” of the famous Twilight Virgins post.

It’s nice to have friends like Lucy and Ethel. Sometimes I get so caught up in eating and breathing YA books (not good for your health. I wouldn’t suggest it), and I forget there’s another world out there. Somewhere.

I was explaining to Lucy and Ethel the different genres of literature, and how Young Adult is it’s own genre, with all sorts of sub-genres like realistic fiction, literary, blah dee blah boop.

They asked what I write, and I told them, “Y.A. paranormal.”

Blank stares.

Me: “You know. Paranormal. For teens. Same genre as Twilight, except mine’s a bit more sci-fi.”

Blank stares.

Me: “Ugh. Remember Twilight?”

Lucy: “Wasn’t that a movie we saw?”

Me: “Yes. Good. But now I’m talking about the book.”

Ethel: “They made a book from the movie?”

Me: softly pounding my head on the dinner table.

You may think I’m kidding. But only if you’ve never met Lucy and Ethel.

Later in the conversation, Lucy told how she made her second-grade son finish a 30 page math project, even though it wasn’t due til the end of October.

The teacher praised her boy, and showered him with gold stars and dancing elephants.

Then Lucy asked how my own Kid C is doing in first grade. All I could report was that Carter came home from school that day, carrying a homework folder with the name “Abby” at the top. Every page inside it had this Abby’s name as well.

I confronted Kid C.

Me: “Carter, why does your folder say 'Abby' on it?”

Kid C: “Abby?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Kid C: “That’s weird. ‘Abby’ wasn’t his name.”

Me: “Wasn’t whose name?”

Kid C (rolling eyes): “His name wasn’t Abby.”

Me: “Whose name wasn’t Abby?”

Kid C: “Brodi. Listen. To. Me. Lot’s of people aren’t named Abby.”

I couldn’t argue with his logic. Lots of people aren’t named Abby. I defy you to prove otherwise.

Sam and I watched the last half of Step Up 2 the Streets. I still can’t believe movie-makers show the “dance-off” as if it’s a shootout at the OK Corral.

A dance-off ranks just below the “rap-off” when it comes to dangerous duels.

So, enjoy my favorite rap-off. (Thanks, Shellie, for reminding me of this little gem.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shenanigans Ensued at the Book Bloggers Social

Random Thingee: Hubby keeps calling me Martha. Over and over. He's been getting mad when I don't respond. Anyone care to offer diagnosis? Martha, Brodi. Brodi, Martha. They're practically interchangeable.

Book Bloggers Social
Saturday night, I went to the Utah Book Bloggers social, where I met all sorts of cool bloggers.

Aforementioned "Cool Bloggers"

I knew everyone would have business cards to hand out, so about an hour before I was supposed to leave, I decided to quickly design some and print them up.

Designing the little suckers was a feat, because all I had was my name and my website. And I didn't want to be all "Men in Black" about it:

Like, "I'm Brodi. I blog. I'd have more on my card, but I'm CIA, and it would cost someone a life. Do you want that on your head, just so you can have more information?"

Thankfully, I remembered Marie's artwork for my book:

so I slapped it on there.

This all took up the first hour. Hey, typing is hard.

Then I had to search for cardstock. Came up with 8 pieces of white.

So, I set it to print 8, figuring that would give me at least 40 or 50 cards. More than enough. When I went downstairs to the printer, all 8 pages had printed. With one card per page. Smack dab in the middle.


Now I'm 15 minutes late, and I can't find the kitchen scissors, or my paper cutter. (Yes, I'm really that disorganized.) I'm about to tear them, when Kid C hands me his "scissors" from kindergarten.

Together, we cut out all 8 cards, in under 30 minutes. Did I mention Kid C got 2 out of 5 stars in kindergarten for "Cutting in a Straight Line"?

No problem. I shove the cards in my pocket and head out the door. When we get to the park, we wander around for about half an hour, looking for the group.

The cards get nice and sweaty.

When it's finally time to hand them out, they're curled, warped, wrinkled and moist.

To add insult to injury, I have to say, "I only have the eight, so if you think you're gonna throw it away, please don't take one."

Great impression, right?

Here are the authors at the event. I promise the picture taker said, "Okay, Brodi please look like a dork. The rest of you smile like normal people."
Other random happenings at the social:
  • Bree Despain debuted her Dark Divine nail polish
  • Suey's son declared J. Scott Savage's book to be "better than Harry Potter"
  • James Dashner threw a cup at me
  • Organizer Natasha Maw treated me like an author. (Shhh, don't tell her the truth).
  • J. Scott Savage, or "Jeff" as his friends call him, cleared up the confusion about his name. Sorta.
  • Emily Wing Smith made interesting, and slightly gross, hand gestures at Coldstone
  • Bree Despain gave in to her lactose intolerance, and ate ice cream
  • James Dashner bet me 5 bucks I couldn't finish my extra large Coldstone Ice Cream, with Raspberries and Graham Crackers
  • Upon observing me chow down the first five bites, James Dashner rescinded the offer. And asked if I'd need another one.
  • None of us could remember what movie made Doris Day famous
  • I learned a new word. "Habitue". When I asked what it meant, I was told, "It's like 'denizen'." When I asked what that meant, I was told, "Home." By then, I had forgotten what the original word was.
  • I learned that Bermuda Shorts don't necessarily need to have flowers printed on them.
  • We decided Emily Wing Smith's new contacts were haunted, and turning her eyes black.
  • James Dashner admitted to chasing down Mike Tyson in an airport based solely on the fact that it would make a good blog post.
  • Natasha's hubby Taylor is writing a book about aliens too. They really are the next big thing! Pass it on!
Here are some links to the bloggers I met. There would be more, but I totally suck at hyper-linking. (Is that even the correct terminology?) The link at the bottom will take you to the entire group.

Entire List of Utah Book Blooggers

How's everyone's week going? Any happenings? Hope you all are doing well, and thank you for your comments and your donations from Monday's blog.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dear Anne: I Hate Cancer

Pardon this interruption. I had a post about the wacky goings-on at the book bloggers social over the weekend, but I’ll save it for Wednesday, because I have to just say something…

I hate cancer.

Last November, my agent Ted spoke at an SCBWI conference in Salt Lake City. Believe it or not, I totally lacked the guts to talk to him, and the rest of the editors in attendance. I was too new in this world. My sis-in-law E kept telling me, “He’s your agent. You are allowed to talk to him.”

But I couldn’t. I didn’t know that many people there, and I just didn’t have the gumption.

I happened to sit next to a woman named Anne Creager. About my age. Beautiful. Short pixie hair. Perhaps you've seen her link on my sidebar under writer friends.

We immediately clicked, and with Anne by my side, I approached every big shot there, introducing them to Anne as if we had been friends for years.

Those of you who were lucky enough to know Anne better, can you tell me how she did it? How she was able to infuse a stranger with courage, simply by her presence?

She told me she was just getting her strength back from her latest bout with cancer. She wasn’t specific. She looked healthy at the time, although I could tell her hair was just starting to grow back, and she had to leave early because of fatigue.

I told her my father was battling Pancreatic Cancer, and how cancer was so unfair. So unfair.

But we parted with each other’s email addresses, and the promises to keep in touch about our writing.

She and her husband Ward were kind enough to critique my book. They read it out loud to each other on one of their many trips to Colorado, where Anne received special treatments.

She also gave me her own manuscript- a middle grade novel called, “Fist Fights at Bible Camp.” The main character was a girl named Annie- the defiant daughter of a Preacher- who gets sentenced to Bible Camp. I wondered how much Annie was a reflection of Anne. Whether it was or not, I felt like her book gave me a further window into Anne’s soul.

Anne was such a talented writer. I curled up with her book one day at Barnes and Noble, and read it in one sitting.

Through a series of emails, and blog entries, I learned about the seriousness of Anne’s condition. Years ago, doctors discovered Melanoma on her arm, and removed it.

She was recovering, and living the life of a young mother to her three beautiful daughters. Then a year and a half ago, Anne developed a pain in her chest after a ski trip. The cancer had come back with a vengeance, snaking through her lungs, her liver. Encasing her sweet heart.

I have since learned that once Melanoma invades the organs, it becomes a most vicious adversary. Even places like the Huntsman Cancer Institute have few options to fight it.

I hesitated to write about her today, because I wasn’t one of the lucky ones inside her closest circle of family and friends. But I can’t help it. It’s the effect she has on people.

Even strangers.

Anne last emailed me three weeks ago. An upbeat letter. She was ready to submit her manuscript. She actually apologized for not writing sooner. She had been through every horrible treatment available, causing her pain, hair loss, weight gain, weight loss, and countless other side effects, and she still apologizes to me, and asks about my own road to publication.

Maybe that’s why I always failed to grasp the magnitude of her situation.

When my dad was receiving chemo treatments, one of his cell-mates – named Dov -- would often wear a tee shirt with just two words on it.
*Viewer Discretion Advised*

My family used to say: Guess which word is the obscenity?

Cancer is a loathsome affliction. It is a thief. It plunders and robs and violates all that life holds dear…health, joy, productivity, future, peace of mind…without discrimination or remorse.

On Saturday morning, cancer took Anne from this world.

So unfair.
(Anne and her family)

I would like to drop-kick something right now. But since cancer is not available to drop-kick, I have to look for another way to give cancer the bird.

I have a ton of books, many of them signed. And my friend Kathy Wismer is racing in the LOTOJA (Logan to Jackson bike ride) to raise money for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. First five (maybe more) people to donate at least $25 get an autographed book from my stash, or a book of their choice from Amazon. You can donate in the name of anyone you want. If you're lucky enough to be untouched by cancer, donate for Anne. Send me an email if you donated. brodiashton (at) gmail (dot) com

I have to believe that someday, somebody much smarter than me will find the answer.

Anyone else hate cancer? Feel free to use the comments section to vent about it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Hotel from The Shining, and The Parable of the Wagon Master

*Thinking of Anne and her dear family*

Threesome status:

With me, Sam, and Hot Tub crammed into one tiny room, we weren't getting much sleep. So, being the magnanimous person that I am, I opted out of the love triangle. Sam and Hot Tub are doing just fine now.

Looking lame on everyone else's blogs status:
Not surprisingly, I look pretty stupid when other people are recounting their favorite moments from SCBWI. Check it out here and here.

Creepy Hotel status:
Yesterday we went to the Stanley Hotel, the site where Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining. He stayed in room 217, and thought up one of the creepiest stories of our time.

You should've heard my mom telling the grandkids about the story:

mom: "There once was a man, who stayed in this hotel, and went crazy and killed his entire family. So their ghosts haunt the hotel. Then, there's this writer, who takes his wife and son up to the same hotel to stay during the winter. Well, he goes crazy, typing stupid sentences over and over on a typewriter, confessing to a bartender, who is really a ghost, and stuff. He kills a guy with an axe, and then he tries to kill his wife and son, before he is frozen in the maze. Any questions?"

Grandkid: "What the heck is a typewriter?"

The Roads of Doom:

The roads in Rocky Mountain National Park were narrow, and in some places the edge abutted a sheer dropoff. (Can you believe I actually used the word “abutted” in a sentence? It’s like I’m living in a freakin’ Jane Austen novel, right?)
Okay, so this picture really doesn't do the whole dropoff thing justice

Anyway, back to the road. Often, when I have nightmares, I dream about narrow, steep roads. More specifically, I dream about catapulting over the edge and rolling to the bottom of the ravine, and when the car finally stops, it’s nothing more than a twisted piece of metallic wreckage.

That’s the kind of road we were on.

Why is it that I can love Sam most of the time, but when he gets behind the wheel, I often call upon the fires of Heaven to strike him down, he bugs me so much.

So, in Rocky Mountain National Park, Sam is driving, and my fingertips are sweating (because that’s what they do when I’m anticipating death by cliffs) and Sam keeps pointing out the freakin’ wildlife.

Sam: “Look way up there… way way up there. Here. Lean over. See? Elk!”

Me: “If you’re lookin’ for elk, you’re not watching the road. Please, please just watch the road.”

Sam: “Check out that dead tree behind us. What do you think killed it?”

Me: “Who cares! Stop looking at trees. Watch the road!”

Sam: “Fine. Fine. I’m watching the road.”

A couple agonizing moments pass, as the edge looms ominously… uh, nearby. I close my eyes, and simply hope for the best.

Sam: “I’ve added my picks, do you want to add any songs to the playlist?”

I glance over to see Sam navigating his iphone with one hand and steering with the other.

Me: “Rakkin Frakkin! Watch the road, you tool! Remember the parable of the… wagon… guy?”

Sam: “The parable of the wagon guy?”

Me (closing my eyes, and still suffering from altitude delusions): “Yeah, the parable of the wagon master. You know, where someone is hiring a wagon driver-”

Sam: “Who’s hiring him?”
Me: “I don’t know. God is hiring him. And three wagon masters vie for the job, and one of them shows off by driving close to the edge-”

Sam: “Wait. Why would God need a wagon master?”

Me: “I don’t know, Sam. It’s a frakkin parable. Anyway, so everyone gets fired, except the guy who stayed the farthest away from the edge. And he gets the job. Because he was the safest, not the showiest.”


Sam: “There's no way that's in the bible."

Me: “Just watch the friggin’ road.”

So, anyone want to road trip with us? Seriously, we are fun.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wanna See what 2.3 Miles Above Sea Level Looks Like? And Twilight Cliff's Notes

Hello, y'all.

Happy hump day.

I meant to show this video on Monday but, well, the air up here in Colorado has completely lobotomized my brain. Sam's taking me to the glue factory tomorrow, so this is my last chance to show it.

My friend Tarl (whose wife
Debbie is a FOB - friend of the blog) is a talented animator/illustrator, and he's working on this Twilight Cliff's Notes thingee. Here's the preview. I think it's so cute, I wanted to share it with everyone, since we're a YA blog.

Cool, huh? For more doodles, check out his
site. I can't wait for the finished product. So, ahem, Tarl, when will the dang thing be finished? (Hey everyone, let's pester him in the comments section. Peer pressure rocks.)

Remember when I was complaining about being up at 8,500 feet? Well, that's nothing. Yesterday we hit the Rocky Mountain National Park, and after a short hike, here's the result:
Did you read the sign? 12,005 feet. 2.3 miles above sea level. The line through the picture was actually the sound barrier, it was that high up. Where were the freakin' sherpas with oxygen?

I was so confused at this point, I was holding someone else's child. Seriously, who is that kid in the red sweatshirt? I only recognize like half the people.

The altitude has been messing with my mind. I thought I had written 5,000 words on my current WIP (Work In Progress), but upon re-reading it, I discovered the sentence, "All work and no play makes Brodi a dull girl" typed over and over. On a typewriter, no less. Very spooky. Especially since I don't
own a typewriter.

Further evidence of Mountain Sickness appeared in a conversation I had with Sam after a trip to Starbucks. Repeat: after a trip to

me (sipping on my Strawberry Frapuccino): "I've been getting these Strawberry frapuccino's a lot lately. It seems like I have at least two a week. But I can't remember where the Starbucks was located or who I was with..."

Sam: "Well, it hasn't been with me."

me: "I know. It's bugging me, because I can picture getting them a lot."

After a few minutes of thinking really hard about it, it hits me.

me: "Oh yeah. I've been getting them at Starbucks."

*Now, what you have to know at this point is that when I said "Starbucks", I really meant "Barnes and Noble" where I do my writing.*

Sam (giving me a weird look): "Really. Your Starbucks was located at Starbucks? Wow. What an epiphany. I could have told you that."

me: "Why the sarcasm? I didn't realize the Starbucks [actual] was at Starbucks [Barnes and Noble]. I could only picture me, surrounded by books, sipping the drink."

Sam: "Starbucks sells books now?"

me (shaking my head in exasperation): "What else would they sell? This conversation is making me very tired."

Now that I've made it back down to 8,500 feet, I realize how stupid the conversation was. But at the time, Sam received a nasty silent treatment from me for just basically being really really annoying.

And finally this morning, wanna see what Kid C does when I tell him to smile?

(Kid C and his Cousin N)

We can't even blame it on the Mountain Sickness. He makes this face in every single picture.

How's everyone else's week going? School starts for us on Monday. I'm too excited to sleep.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Final SCBWI lessons, and a very Unique Threesome

Good Morrow Yon Bloggerland...

I am currently in Colorado, resting comfortably at 8,700 feet elevation.

The above sentence could also be typed this way:

After 8 interminable hours on a winding road upward - during which carsick Kid-B puked from Heavens all the way to Mergatroid - we arrived somewhere near outer space, where the air is not only thin, it's dangerously anorexic, and when you have asthma, and you're just getting over a cold, elevation is about as pleasant as a knee to the groin.
Kid C, me (suffocating to death) and Kid B

But Colorado is beautiful this time of year. Sort of like Utah. Only further away.

I jest. I'm really having fun. I have Wine-Frye. (Wi-Fi, to those of you new to the blog). The master bedroom doesn't have a king-size bed, but that's only because it has to make room for the hot tub.

What's that you say? Silly Brodi, she means a Jacuzzi, or a rather large bathtub. Because no normal-sized condo has a hot tub inside the bedroom.

No, no. You heard me right. I mean a full-sized, special sturdy deck, bad prom date, hot tub.

Voila. (Which, in English, means "Holy Moly that's a big Hot Tub."

It has the effect of making our bedroom feel sorta like an indoor swimming pool. At one point, during the night, I tried to "turn it off" and succeeded only in firing up the jets at full speed.

Sam informed me one doesn't really "turn off" a hot tub.

So we are lulled to sleep by the gentle purrs of the world's largest outdoor hot tub that can still, magically, fit indoors. The three of us sleep quite comfortably together. Me, Sam and the Hot Tub. Although I have had to get after the hot tub for stealing the covers.

Leaving the Universe’s strangest ménage a trios, and continuing on with the list of stuff I learned at the SCBWIBCSIWC Conference:

Where were we? #6 maybe?

6. I should really grow a pair.

If you ever want to get introduced to someone, but you are too afraid, you need a friend like Emily Wing Smith. She has mastered the art of the "sidle", where she mingles and mozies her way toward the target. Everyone who was on the receiving end of one of her "sidles" was always so darn happy to meet her.

Without her "sidle", we never would have met many of the cool people, like Richard Peck, Sherman Alexie, Jay Asher and countless others.
(Me, Richard Peck, Bree)

(Emily, Jay Asher, Bree)

Bree and I tried to "sidle" on our own once - to a semi-famous author - and we asked if we could get a picture. He acted like we had dared him to chug a mug of cat vomit. Seriously.

The ultimate was when the hotel closed down the courtyard and film crews took over to shoot a scene from the television show “Lie to Me”.

They had bouncers at every door, and signs instructing the loser touristas to stay away.

But, you see, Emily wanted to be an extra. She’s wanted it for a long time.

So, that little sidler just walked right past all the signs, found the nearest person with headphones, and asked him where the background actors should report.
It's hard to see, but Emily's dressed all in black,
obviously past security's first line of defense.

She made it quite far, and when all else failed, she offered to get a sound guy a sandwich.

Serious cajones, that inappropriate little sidler.

7. Black shorts are not appropriate attire for a Ball.

In the spirit of the notorious “prom pants” event, I tried to get away with wearing black shorts to the “Blue Moon Ball”.

To be fair, I had a fear of being the only one at the Ball who wasn’t asked to dance, so I wanted to wear something I felt comfortable in.

Black shorts. And even worse, no blue.

But Emily and Bree wouldn’t allow it. They said, “What if you get asked to dance the Virginia Reel, and you lack the flowing skirts?” (Okay, they didn’t really say that. I was the only one who was naïve enough to think there would be a Virginia Reel.)
Virginia Reel

In the end, I borrowed an outfit from Emily.

Scarlett O'Hara wore black to her ball. Nobody gave her crap. And btw, when there are 800 women, and 100 men at a conference, the ball is not bound to look like this:

Friday, August 14, 2009

One of Many Embarrasing Moments at SCBWI, and a pic of me with Sherman Alexie

Wearing our Bad Reviews on our Shirts...

Here's the pic I wanted to show yesterday of the gals with Sherman Alexie:
(Bree, Sherman Alexie, Emily, me)

We had matching shirts made for the conference (I know, we're geeks) and on the shirts we had printed some of the bad reviews our books had gotten.

Emily's: "Inappropriate"
Bree's: "Blasphemous"
Mine: "Violent"

Sherman Alexie loved our shirts. So next year, I'm making a tee-shirt that says, "Sherman Alexie loved my shirt last year."

On to the Belly Boobs
This is the last time I tease a post like that. You just can't promise readers the glory of "belly boobs" and then think that it's possible to live up to such expectations.

So let me just say, here and now, the two words "belly" and "boobs" are by themselves more interesting than the actual story.

On with the countdown of things I learned at the SCBWI Conference: (Or "countup" is more accurate)

5. There's never really an appropriate time to shout "belly boobs" in public.

Saturday night of the conference was the Blue Moon Ball in the courtyard of the hotel.
(Sydney Salter, Matt Kirby, me, Bree, Emily at the Ball)

There was a shortage of elevators in the hotel, and so the wait to get one was always long, and once it arrived, it may or may not be too full.

Bree and I were waiting for an elevator to take us down to the Ball, and I was explaining to her why I couldn't possibly get away with not wearing a bra.

Below is my recap, in extra slow motion so you can benefit from the timing of it all.

*Brodi and Bree, waiting to see which of the four elevators will ding*

me: "I really can't go anywhere without a bra." (Okay, this was not actually the first thing out of my mouth. I promise it was a continuation of the conversation.)

Bree: "Why not?"
*Elevator Dings*

me: "Because I end up looking like Kathy Lee Gifford."
*Arrow Lights Up*
*It happens to be the elevator in front of Brodi, and toward which she is now facing, two feet away*

Bree: "What's wrong with looking like Kathy Lee Gifford?"

me: "Seriously? I have two words for you." *Doors Open to a packed elevator car, all of whom are staring at Brodi, who is also staring back*

me: "Belly Boobs!"

Awkward silence as we all just stand there, looking at each other. Bree and I can't fit on, and she's across the room anyway, so it's just me still staring.
Doors close.

Bree starts laughing hysterically.

me (turning reluctantly to Bree): "Did I really just shout 'belly boobs' to an elevator full of people?"

Bree: nods, still laughing.

So, their doors opened, and there was this girl, just waiting to say 'belly boobs'. Almost like it was some sort of password to get on the elevator or something.

And why is it that people in an elevator have absolutely no sense of humor? The inside of a packed elevator is more somber than a freakin' funeral home. Nobody even cracked a smile. It was like I had said 'belly boobs' and everyone inside the car was thinking, ah, belly boobs. Yes. Interesting point.

Okay, that was my story. I challenge you to try this in your own hotels, and see if anyone on the elevator has the stones to say something back.

I'll have more from the conference next week. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Back to normal. Because I've discovered something about myself- I simply cannot blog back to back days. I'm all tapped out. The brain fluids need a chance to regroup, and pool.

I'm also off to Colorado tomorrow, and hopefully the place has Wine Frye.

Anyone else doing anything fun this weekend?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

SCBWI Gems, Lessons, and Stars, and the Sexiest Elevator Voice Ever

Okay, Okay. I know. It's Thursday. I blogged on Tuesday and now I'm blogging on Thursday. There is such a thing as a Tesseract.

To be fair... Sam started it. He blogged on Saturday one day late. And that's when the black hole in the Space-Time Continuum imploded.

I should've just waited until Wednesday, but then... wait. Why am I delving into the particulars of blog schedule? I feel like a Jane Austen character, where the socially awkward aunt doesn't know what to do with a letter she received on a Thursday, because she usually receives letters on a Tuesday, and she bores the bejeebers out of everyone she encounters, etc. etc. etc.

This is really not the best way to impress our new readers, if there are any after the conference. And what's with the use of "etc."? That's just an abbreviation for boring.

Where was I? Oh yeah. I don't know.


1. SCBWI stands for Society of Childrens' Book Writers and Illustrators.
Not "Conference for Writers who Want to Write Good Stuff for the Chicklins."

2. Sometimes Water on the Brain can be a Beautiful Thing

Sherman Alexie (Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) opened the conference with an inspiring, amazing, totally kick-butt speech.

He was born with hydrocephaly (water on the brain) and he grew 42 teeth (32 is normal). He spoke with both a stutter and a lisp.

All I have to say is: where is some of that magic rez water, and how can I inject it into my sons' brains? Because it'd be worth it if the result is a Sherman Alexie-like brilliance.

Little Tidbit: He had to get the extra teeth pulled, but the Indian Health Service funded dental work one day a year. So he had to have all ten extra teeth pulled in one day.

Gem: (About Young Adult Literature) "Our books will change lives in a way an adult book can not."

(He liked my name. He signed my book: "Brodi, Superhero Name! Sherman Alexie")

3. Everything sounds better coming out of Richard Peck's mouth.

Richard Peck comes from another time and place (still writes his book on a typewriter, not sure of the place. Somewhere in the Midwest?).

During his keynote address, I wanted to charge the stage just to capture every word that came out of his mouth. Then I wanted to gather all the words, take them down to the local tanner, and have them bronzed. But I wasn't sure if that would put my suitcase over the weight limit.

Mr. Peck expressed a scathing indictment for things like Twitter, Facebook, and other such lame-o wastes of time. So for an entire day, I didn't Twitter.

Gem: "Schools can either teach the students, or fear the parents. They can't do both."

Thank you, Richard.

(Richard Peck and Sherman Alexie signing autographs)

4. Even the word "Lobby" can sound sexy.

At our hotel (the Hyatt Regency in Beverly Hills) everything is sorta posh. Especially the elevator narrator. You know, the female voice that announces which floor you are on.

And the way she said the word "Lobby", it made me feel like we were about to step off the elevator and onto some lounge floor, where the lights are dim, a disco ball may be present, and people may or may not be dressed.

Like: "Laaaahhhhhhbby". Seriously, I blushed. I even felt a little dirty. Like I had been phoning a 1-900 number, and now I had to pay the bill.

I will continue with all the things I learned tomorrow, but here's a teaser:

5. There is really no appropriate time to shout the words "Belly Boobs", but it's especially inappropriate here...

I am dedicating the post to Una, who, along with many others, was most affected by the wormhole created when I blogged on a Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Contest Winners Announced, and SCBWI in L.A. by the Numbers

Howdy, y’all. I’ve missed you. Each and every one of you.

Okay, so Sam was in charge of my blog while I was gone, and here’s what was accomplished:

1 blog, a day late
No book winners announced

Thank you, Sam, for your tireless efforts on behalf of my dedicated readership. And for forcing me to post on a Tuesday, when no one will be expecting it.

On to the stuff we’ve all been waiting for. Since we are so late in announcing the winners, and since I have a renewed passion for buying books, Smokey the Cat has magnanimously chosen three winners:

Mrs. Foltz
Cari from KS

Please email me at brosam (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know the book of your choosing (preferably YA) and your mailing address.

And that's not all. One bonus winner, chosen by me, for the cutest answers to the questions:

Hannah from SLC

Please also email me with a book of your choosing.

On to the blog post! I'll have pictures and stories later, but for now...


Number of times we were paged over the airport loudspeaker to ‘please board the flight, so we can take off. This is your last chance’: several

Number of times we heard the announcement: 1

Number of eardrums that nearly burst in-flight: 1

Number of times I complained about said eardrum: 978

Number of times I followed complaining with the phrase ‘I don’t usually complain’: 978

Number of times I threatened to stab my ears while simultaneously shouting ‘Make it stop!’: 2 or 3

Number of times I tried to get away with wearing shorts to the formal ‘Blue Moon Ball’: 3

Number of times I danced in the center of the dance circle: Um… 1

Year of the dance moves I pulled: 1992 (The Funky Chicken)

Number of times I was invited back to the center of the dance circle: 0

Number of times I was asked if I knew Stephenie Meyer: 1 (Really!)

Number of famous authors we ‘sidled’ up to, who turned out to be incredibly nice: 3

Number of authors we sidled up to, who turned out to be butt-munches: 1

Preferable number of sidling cohorts when one is about to sidle: 2 (They’re like sidling wing-men)

Number of television shows filming in the hotel courtyard on our last day: 1

Number of times Emily Wing Smith tried to become an extra on the show: 2

Number of times she impressed me with her boldness and audacity: countless

Number of times she nearly lost an eye: 1

Number of times Bree Despain’s book was mentioned in front of the thousands in the general assembly: 1

Number of times she blushed: 784

Number of times she nearly lost her sense of humor permanently due to hypoglycemia: 1

Number of times I was inspired by Sherman Alexie and Richard Peck: countless

Number of times I wanted to tweet about it: countless

Number of times I didn’t actually tweet about it, for fear Richard Peck would be disappointed in my use of Twitter: countless

How was everyone else's weekend? Anything extraordinary? Does this feel a little weird, being a Tuesday and such?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

She left on a Jet Plane and I don't know when she will be back again

Hi to all of the visitors of Brodi's blog. As she mentioned on Wednesday, Brodi is attending some LA writing conference (either that or she has eloped with Rafa Nadal) and that is why you did not see her post this past Friday. My subject heading is a bit misleading but well worth it as a tribute to the multi-talented and wonderfully dead singer John Denver. Wait, that didn't come out right.

I was expected to step up to the plate and fill in for her on Friday...but since I am a single parent for the weekend, I was too busy working, cleaning, mowing the lawn, jumping on the trampoline with the boys, getting Brodi's car fixed up, biking with the boys, doing the dishes, doing the laundry, learning new dance moves, cooking dinner, doing ab crunches, changing dirty diapers, leaving dirty diapers on our front porch, watching old John Hughes movies, working again, going to park with the boys, playing soccer with the boys, doing pushups (3 of them!) and seeing my brother and his family from DC...well, I didn't get around to writing up her blog. But, I would never make excuse, so please disregard the above activities that prevented me from doing her blog. Brodi will be back on Monday night, so you may not see a post from her until either Monday night, Tuesday or it is up to you to check in often for her latest.

Now, I am going to head on over to my blog and get up a new post on our visit to the Gilgal Park in Salt Lake City. I attached a couple of pics on Brodi's site so that you can see our fabulous 2 boys (boys B and C). Thanks for reading Brodi's blog. She is as good as it gets and I am glad that you are all seeing her in her full glory (funny, smart and hott!). Keep on reading and tell your friends about her...Brodi simply rocks.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Why I Don't Call Myself a Writer

The Pleasure was all Mine
Thanks to everyone who de-lurked Monday. It was very nice to meet you all. Sometimes I feel like I am typing into the big black void of computer wasteland, so it's good to know there are a few readers out there.

Everyone who commented yesterday is entered in the contest to win a free book of your choosing from Amazon. I may even draw three winners, depending on how Smokey the cat feels about it. (He is in charge of drawing names, of course).

Smokey's nannies are out of town this week, but hopefully I will have the winners by this friday.

Why I Call Myself a Typist, not a Writer

Unpublished writers often debate the best way to explain what it is we do. Do we call ourselves "writers" when we aren't getting paid for it?

To each his own, but for me, I call myself a "Typist". The reason for this is simple. Whenever I answer "What do you do?" with "I'm a writer", the following chains of conversation inevitably take place, and it makes me feel like a big doofus:

You’re a writer?
I could write a book. Quick way to make a buck, right?

You’re a writer?
Like that Potter guy?

The boy wizard.

You write books?
Yeah. I try.

(In bad Yoda voice): Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.
(Awkward pause)

Umm… thanks.

So, when does your book come out?

It’s a long process.
I’ve got a printer out back. Let’s get this thing going. Family discount.

You’re a writer? Have I heard of you?
Well, Aunt Meg, it’s me. Brodi. Joan’s daughter.

I think I’ve heard of you.
Only since, like, birth, and every subsequent Christmas Party.

You’re a writer?


I just read a book.
Which one?
Something about… oh, what was it?
Was it vampires in high school?

Yes. That was it. Did you write that?


Aren’t all writers mad as snakes?


You’re a writer?
Do you know Stephenie Meyer?
But, you’re both writers and both Mormons.

You’re a writer?


No wonder your kids are so… unique.

Is your book out yet?
Now is it out?
Now is it out?
Can you get me Stephenie Meyer’s autograph?
Um, sure. I mean, we're both Mormons, and we're both writers.

Finally, after learning my lesson, here’s my new answer:
So, Brodi, what do you do?

I’m a typer. I type. Like on a computer.
Ah. (Nods in approval) Yes. Good for you.

I won't be here Friday, because I'm flying to L.A. for the semi-annual SCBWI conference. (Which stands for: Writing a Bunch of Stuff for Kids and Teens Conference). I am way excited for this adventure. Anyone from L.A. area?

Sam will still post the winners of the de-lurking contest on Friday (if the planets align and Smokey works his magic). And then I'll try to post on Monday with all of the conference shenanigans.

Have a fantabular week, y'all.