Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving at the Ranch, with 25 nieces and nephews. That's not a typo.

I come from a small family. Two parents and one sister. I married a guy who is the youngest of six children, each of whom has from 3 to 8 kids. 

So, my Thanksgiving dinners went from nice, quiet affairs to this:

Yep, that is what 16 adults and 25 children looks like. (Okay, not all of them are pictured, but you get the idea.)

I'm in the upper right hand corner, with my arms folded. You can see I wore my nice sweats for the occasion. (The one with the pink shell strategically placed over my left... um... sister.) Because at Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for pants that give a little.

How, you ask, do we fit inside one house? The answer is, we don't. We all drive to the family ranch in central Utah. 
Okay, I did not take this picture. If I had, the lake would be ice, and it would look like it was 15 degrees outside. 

Here's one Sam took:
Can you tell how cold it was? Just spit at that picture, and you will see the spittle freeze on your computer screen.*

*The above statement is not FDA approved. Please do not send me bills to replace your computer screen

Kid B and Kid C love it here. They get to ride horses:

They get to laugh at their mom, whose saddle lurched to one side when she hoisted herself up on the horse. 
The saddle was loose! I swear! Stop looking at my butt!

And then, when we're bored, we get to shove our kids into a hole in a rock. (Thus, the origin of the phrase: "Why don't you just shove it in a hole in the rock!")
They got stuck there. Between a rock and a hard place. (Which happened to be another rock). 

The boys are still there. We told them Santa Claus will first appear at that rock, and if they're not there, Santa won't go to any houses, and there will be no Christmas. Don't worry, we left food and water.

How was all y'all's Thanksgiving? Anything discover really random things you're thankful for? 

For instance: I was Thankful for Kraft Roka Blue cheese spread for my famous cheese ball. I didn't know how thankful until they stopped producing it. Stupid Kraft. I always knew I shouldn't trust anyone who spells Craft wrong.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I would like to thank...

my Family... who understands the mania of living with a writer, and still loves me
A dad... who is going all Chuck Norris on Pancreatic Cancer's arse

Friends... Who know when to come by with emergency Diet Coke, and then know when to stay far away

Blog readers (yes, YOU)... who brighten my day, and without whom my blog would just be a burp in the wind, only not as magical

A critique group... who have to wade through hundreds of crappy first drafts before they get to anything good

An agent... who's one part teddy bear, one part ninja, a dash of therapist, and a cup of cheerleader (mix together and bake at 350)

An editor... who quizzes me on the world I've created, and therefore makes the book better

A mom... who doesn't flinch when our budget's tight and I need a loan

A sister... who can't help introducing me as "the Next Stephenie Meyer", even though I punch her in the arm, because let's be honest, nobody's the next Stephenie Meyer

Two boys... Who still have no idea why I'm at the computer all day

A hubs... who... who... yeah. No words. Sorry Sam.

Feel free to add your own list. Love to you all! Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Visual Tour of EVERNEATH

Happy Monday before Thanksgiving, y'all.

So, my writer's group and I went to a condo in Midway for a writer's retreat over the weekend, and I am proud to announce I kept my promise about not writing a single word. 

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was strolling the streets of Park City, and checking out some of the sights where my book takes place. (Did I mention EVERNEATH is set in Park City?)

There's a critical scene in the book, where the main character Nikki meets the guitarist of an indie rock band. The ominous encounter takes place at Harry O's, on Main in Park City. 

So we sneaked inside to get a peek. 
That's Emily Wing Smith on the right, and I'm the unabomber on the left. 

Now, to really get the ambiance of the scene, you have to picture the place at night, jam packed during the Sundance Film Festival. And then picture an awkward teenage girl making her way through the crowd. 
 Just when she thinks she's going to have to stand there, looking lame and alone, all night, a familiar looking boy from one of the VIP couches scoots over, and makes room for her. She recognizes he's a member of one of her favorite indie bands. Little did she know what that meeting would lead to... and the fateful decision she would make. 

Okay, I'm just being silly with the whole tagline thing. dun Dun DUN!!!

Anyway, I loved seeing it in person after I'd been writing about it all month.

Here's another stop on our tour:
Flanagan's. An Irish bar and restaurant. One of my characters in my book gets kicked out of this bar a few times.

They also make a delicious Shepherd's Pie. Yummm. 

So, yeah, it was a total blizzard that day. We rode the free trolley to stay out of the weather. 

If you're ever in Park City, check out these places, and ride the historic trolley.

So, what's everyone doing for Thanksgiving? We're going down to my hubby's ranch in central Utah. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, especially this year because we have so many things to be grateful for! 

Have a fantastic holiday. What's everyone doing? And did you like your tour of the EVERNEATH?

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Revision's Greatest Hits, from Best Lines to Worst Google Searches

My revisions are in. They're in!

To celebrate, I'm going up to a condo in Midway for a writing retreat this weekend. And guess what I'm going to do on that retreat? 

So, here's a rundown of the highlights from the revision:

Total words added: Um... 20,000. Please don't tell my editor. Pretty please.

Total times someone flinches in my book: 1

Total times someone spots a little from laughing too hard: 0 (still trying to work that one in)

Strangest Google search for revisions: "4 syllable names that start with P"

Second strangest Google search: "Different ways to describe the shape of a knife wound" 
(I think I was a little desperate on that one. The search turned up nothing of use. I finally had to use my own descriptive terms. I hate it when I have to write my own words.)

Third strangest Google search: "Does anyone want to write a slam-bang finish for my book? Anyone?"
(Okay, I didn't really search for that. But I wanted to.)

Favorite line from my book (today, at least): "There are no heroes. And if there were, I wouldn't be one of them."

Second favorite line from the book: "Nothing says 'I'm sorry' like a tea cozy."

Third favorite line: "They expected me to wear pants!"

Best part about revising: Friends bring you treats! 

Worst part about revising: The smell.

So, now I plan on relaxing for a moment. I'm going to Midway with my writers group, where cinnamon bears will be eaten and Diet Coke will be mainlined. 

What are all y'all's plans for this weekend? Anyone leaving town for Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Proof that Even My Subconsious is Politically Correct

I had a strange dream last night.

This door-to-door salesman appeared on my front porch wearing a turban and a shalwar kameez. He was selling machine guns. He had one in his hands, and asked me if it was okay if he did a demonstration. 

The last thing I wanted to do was to give this salesman the impression that I was scared. I would never make assumptions based solely on the fact that he was wearing a turban. Some of my best friends in Pakistan wear turbans and shalwar kameez. I didn't want to be accused of racial (or religious) profiling. I wanted to act just like I'd act if a Catholic or a Baptist was at my door, brandishing a gun for sale.

So I said, sure. Please commence with the demonstration.

He loaded the gun, pointed it at my house, and - swiveling back and forth - proceeded to riddle my house with bullets. As the kicker to the demonstration, he shot me in my leg.

"Do you see how the bullet lodged in your bone, instead of going through and through?"

I nodded, trying not to cry.

"It's amazing isn't it? And that's not even full strength! That bullet was diluted 10 to 1."
"Wow," I grunted, as I hobbled over for my checkbook. 

"That's not all." The salesman then pulled out two hand grenades. "Check this out." He removed the pins out and through them over my roof and into my back yard.

We listened for a few moments. 
"You're expecting a big boom, right? Am I right??" The salesman said, excited.

I nodded.

"Well that's the beauty of these babies. You never know when they're going to explode!"

"I'll take two," I said, although at this point it was more like a whimper.

The salesman pulled out a sticker and put it on the shoulder of my shirt.  It read: 

I am Politically Correct.

So, dear blog readers... what does it mean?

And I will say this:  writers often complain of insomnia, but sometimes isn't it really a blessing? 

Interpretations please!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Overheard this Weekend, Including Gems from the SCBWI Conference, Church, and Kid C

Hey y'all.  We're on the home stretch for edits. They're due this Friday, and I'll warn you now... blogging may or may not happen this week. And if it does, it may or may not sound crazy. 

Okay, crazier than usual. 

Last weekend, I attended the SCBWI conference, went to church, had a family dinner, worked on edits... so I thought it'd be fun to share with you some of the phrases I overheard during my exploits. (Who knew going to church was an "exploit"?)

Things overheard this past weekend:

"Pick me! I wanna be a leper! Me! Me!"

-From a boy in primary who was volunteering for a presentation on a parable

"Query hooks should be equal parts desirable and unique. A paranormal romance where the main character falls for a supernatural creature? Desirable, but not unique. A story about a child serial killer? Unique, but not desirable. Make it both."

-paraphrased from Chelsea Eberly, Associate Editor at Random House

"Mormons are lucky they don't drink. They wake up in the morning and they know that how they feel at that moment is the best they're going to feel all day."

-From my uncle at the dinner table

"Voice [in writing] can't be taught. But it can be cultivated, like a garden."
-Matt Kirby, author of The Clockwork Three

"If you want to keep something secret, put it in the instructor handbook."

-From a church leader at an instructor training seminar

"It's just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is with a poor one."

-My mother-in-law quoting her own mother 

"Shots kill kids!!"
-Shouted from Kid C to the waiting room as we were leaving the doctor's office after receiving our flu shots.

So, what did you overhear this weekend? And how is everybody doing?

Friday, November 12, 2010

I Have a new Title... And Kid C Explains the Life and Death Consequences of Times Tables

It's time for...

Thing 1 and Thing 1!

Thing 1:
The title for my upcoming book has been officially changed from The Ever'neath to.... drum roll please... EVERNEATH!

You see how there's no "the" and no apostrophe? Also, there's no exclamation point. I just put that in there because I'm so excited I have an official title!

Not only that, but the new title means I've made up a word. (Okay, technically Bree Despain made up the word.) It's not an any dictionaries... yet. 

So, what do you think? Is this something you could get used to?

Thing 1:
In his second grade class, 7-year old Kid C has moved up from addition, to subtraction, and finally to multiplication. In order to pass off each level, the students have to finish a worksheet of problems in under 6 minutes.

Kid C was one of the first to reach multiplication, and he's been working his butt off to learn his times tables. The other night, it was time for bed, but he'd been practicing his worksheets and wanted to do more. 

I told him it was time to stop, because he had to get some sleep. He responded with, "What do you think this is, some sort of JOKE?!"

Apparently, second grade times tables are life and death. 
He then went on to say (and I hope I transcribed it all correctly):

"Mom, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns, who know their times tables. Who's gonna do it? You? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Math Skills, while time-consuming, probably saves lives. 

"You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on my times tables, you need me on my times tables. We use words like honor, code, loyalty, and multiplication. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. 

"I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a woman who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a pencil, and do a worksheet. Either way, I don't give a darn what time my bedtime is!"

Seriously, what are they teaching these kids?

SCBWI Conference
This weekend I'm going to the SCBWI conference in downtown Salt Lake City. Sydney puts on a great conference every year. And it was two years ago at this conference that I met my awesome writers' group, The SIX. 

Anyone else going?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm Back from my Revision Retreat: And How Your Book is like a Big Pizza Pie

Hey Y'all. Happy Wednesday. 

I'm back! Thanks for making Sam feel so welcome on Monday. He's filled in on the blog three times now, and so far he's 3 for 3 on using the word "metrosexy". Because that's the mark of people who are metrosexy- they have to remind you a lot.

I think he's totally metrosexy, in a fluffy, squidgy kind of way. 

As Sam told you, I spent the last two days up in the mountains of Midway, UT, to do some revising. I took the trip because I was getting a little lost in my book - Alice down the rabbit hole kind of lost - so I decided to make a road map of it using post-it notes.

Presenting, your first look at EVERNEATH, post-it style:

On the tour of my book:

If you'll follow me please... The book starts in the upper-left hand corner, and goes down column by column. As you can see the notes are color-coded. 

Blue: Flash Backward
Green: Flash Sideways
Orange: MC (Main Character) eats a slice of Pizza

(Okay, one of these is not the true code)

The thing I like best about this method is that it's a snapshot of the balance and pacing in my book. Yes, my MC eats a lot of pizza.  Especially toward the end. And therein lies the rub (of special tomato sauce):

Readers are bound to get bored of the MC only eating pizza. They'll be all, "Hey! What happened to those cool little blue post-its? And I haven't seen a green one in ages. Flash me somewhere! Beam me up, Snotty!"

Imagine if the pizza delivery guy came, and all the toppings were piled on 3 slices. We'd never stand for it. We demand our toppings to be sprinkled evenly throughout!

Okay, to address the elephant in the room, does anyone have any spare pizza? Seriously. Apparently I'm starving.

With my book made up of post-it notes, it was easy to put all the notes together, shuffle them like a deck of cards, and divvy them out evenly. The book doesn't make sense anymore, but according to the color wheel, it's pleasing to the eyes.

The other thing I discovered while on retreat:

Bottles of Diet Coke are, on average, one or two fingers too big for a single serving. 
Somebody do something. There are people in the world who don't have access to Diet Coke, and here I am wasting two-fingers worth with every serving. 

It's okay, though. I pooled the leftovers, and I'm using it to plant a tree in Brooklyn.
So, what do you think of the book? And how are you NaNoWriMo-ers doing? And is anyone else craving pizza?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sexy Spouse Sam Speaks (err, writes) - Brodi is on Writing vacay

First off, let me just say, I am one lucky guy to have a girl that is a total babe...and the funniest person that I know.  Yes, I know we should get a room.  Sorry to make you all blush with that onslaught of cheesiness.  Brodi is on a writing trip to Midway and not available to provide you all with her insight and wonderful wit. 

She asked me to fill in.  I went thru a list of other people who would do a much better job filling in and she agreed  with my list and she agreed that you all would do a much better job with this blog post.  There are countless others who would totally rock it out writing on this blog for today but she was too busy and too lazy to ask any of you, so you are stuck with me. Hooray for you.    Be gentle in your comments.  I am a very metrosexy, sensitive male and I need lots of 'you are awesome'-s to get me through the day.

Brodi is in the middle of revisions. When the revisions get rough, Bro gets a bit cranky.  But it is a stinkin' adorable cranky.  She gets really adorably cranky when I interrupt her when she is writing.  I think she has only hit me once in the head with one of her thrown shoes.

So, to give her time to work on the book, the boys and I get to hang out lots together to give her time to work out her 'issues.'  Like last night - Brodi is out of town.  And, wouldn't you know it, Kid C decides to get sick.  Now Kid C rarely gets sick and he never throws up.  Both happened last night.  At 3am, while he is relieving himself of his stomach contents, he looks right at me and with a pained expression says 'I am too young to die.'  I agreed with him while screaming encouragingly at him 'YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DIE ON MY WATCH KID C!!!!!!!!!'  I have little doubt that he will feel better the minute Brodi walks in the door.  Until then, I will continue to let him know that he is not going to die and that he will feel better...someday.   The pic on the left has absolutely nothing to do with him puking last night - unless he ate some of the quarters that he was saving, but I don't think that is the case. 

During revisions and during her writing, the boys and I get to get out of the house and explore.  If you are ever looking for things to do in Utah, let us know because we have done some fun things.  From wandering aimlessly during a hot summer day on Antelope Island to being amazed by monstrous truck tires at the Kennecott Copper Mine.  For just straight up strangeness, visit Gilgal Gardens.  I would like a little bit of whatever the person was eating when he created those sculptures in the gardens.  Crazy cool stuff.  Mrs. Fields has a fun laid back tour of its cookie making facility in West Valley that is worth it because of the treats at the end of the tour.  The International Peace Gardens is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon as well.  There are also countless museums, aquariums, etc. throughout the city.  If you have any siteseeing suggestions along the Wasatch Front, let me know in the comments.

If any of you are simply looking for a break at the end of a day, two new shows have caught our eye and they are both British imports (Yay for Britain!):

Luther - a BBC show about a flawed detective in London.  Love the cinematography and the show is well paced and intense. 

  • Masterpiece Mystery Sherlock Holmes: A re-telling of Holmes set in modern day London.  It is fabulous.  It features Martin Freeman (from the British 'Office') as Dr. Watson.  And the award for the 'most insane and ludicrous and funny name in showbiz' Benedict Cumberpatch playing the great Sherlock.  C'mon, how can you not love someone who grew up with the name Benedict Cumberpatch and lived to tell about it?  That is awesome.  Great show too.  
Anyway, I best be headed back to cleaning the kitchen, wiping the upchuck off of Kid C, doing the dishes, making the bed (Ok, I will be honest, that part aint happenin'), sweeping the floor (Ok, I will be honest, that part aint happenin' again), getting some of my own job done and working with the kids on their homework.  A spouse to a writer/author's work is never done! 

Good thing that I have my wonderful and tasty Tab cola to get me through the day.  I am tempted to give it to Kid C, because as we all should know, Tab is a miracle drink and should basically nuke everything in his stomach.  If you have not tried Tab, get on it immediately.  Any-hoo, Brodi will be back on Wednesday, welcome her back with open arms. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Quickie: Parlez Vous Francais? Me Neither! and Revision by the Numbers

Hey y'all. We're exactly 2 weeks until Total Global Meltdown (i.e. revision deadline) and I'm warning you now my blog posts might be sporadic with a side of crazy.

Here's a little Revision By the Numbers:

Length of book before revisions: 65,000 words
Length of book as it stands today: 77,000 words. 
(Don't tell my editor I've added 12,000 words. I'll break it to her gently.)

Number of "that's" removed: 482
Number of "that's" added: 327
So, we're headed in the right direction.

Number of times a character flinches: From 579 down to 7.

Number of times a character cringes instead of flinches: 572

Number of times a character loses control of his bowels: ... 0
(Still trying to work that one in to a book)

Number of times my margin comments have started a "thumb war" with my editor's margin comments: 3
(It's okay, I told them to take it out back)

Number of hours I have to fix all the flinches, cringes, and bowel breakdowns: 336

So, I guess I should get going. But first, the news!

EVERNEATH  has gone postal. 

No, wait, scratch that. I mean Global. EVERNEATH has gone global! Parlez Vous Francais? I don't, but somebody out there does, and that somebody is going to bring my book to the French People!

Here's the announcement:

International rights: Children's 
French rights to Brodi Ashton's EVERNEATH, to Milan, in a three-book deal, by Eliane Benisti at Eliane Benisti Agency on behalf of Lauren Abramo at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.


Voulez Vous Coucher Avec Moi, Ce Soir! Which means, a book for every child in France!

Now if I can get them to send me there on tour...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Latest Revision Epiphanies (pronounced Epi-Fannies) and My Latest Failings on the Blog

It's Wednesday, yo. 16 days until my revision deadline. Don't remind me. Seriously, why'd you even bring it up? Stop Judging me!! Gah!!!

1. A week ago Monday, I created a weekly blog feature: Questions from the Question-Maker.

And then last Monday? Totally forgot. So I guess it's not a weekly feature yet. Looks like I'll need to tweak it a bit. Maybe I'll take the issue up with the little man behind the curtain of the blog. (He's sort of a cross between the Wizard of Oz and an Ooompa Loompa).

B. I was interviewed on the Working Writer's blog. Go check it out if you get a chance, and leave a comment if you feel so inclined. :)

i. The Latest Gems I've Learned from Revising

I'm really coming into the crunch time for my revisions, and I've noticed a few tics of mine that keep popping up. So I thought I'd share things I've learned here with you, in case any of you are in the middle of your own revision H-E-L-L. (Helping to Educate and Learn Letter)

1. Pay attention to your tics.

In the first book I ever wrote, my main character had a lot of breathing problems. Her chest would feel tight, her breath would get caught, she'd fight for air...

This time around, all of my characters flinch. A lot.

Someone looks at them funny, they flinch.

Someone says something mean, they flinch.

A gust of wind approaches, they flinch.

They find out the end of the world is near, they flinch.

My book is full of a bunch of people with nervous tics. Not that there's anything wrong with nervous tics. Some of my best friends (including me) have adorable nervous tics.

But when every single character is clocking in at about 20 flinches per second, it's bound to resemble a scene out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

The funny thing is, I never noticed the pattern until this last round of revision, and my editor politely made note of it. After she pointed it out, I flinched, and then I was all, "How did I not see this before? It's atrocious!"

So, here's the tip:

Fresh Eyes can Uncover Tics (Not to be confused with the insects who burrow under your skin)

2. The world in my head often doesn't make it onto the paper.

Someone once told me that if the reader has all the answers at the beginning, he won't want to keep reading.

I think I took this piece of advice to the extreme, to the point where I didn't even have a clue what was going on.

I now make a conscious effort to err on the side of giving too much information, and even then I have people demanding more. I get editorial notes like this*:

Fictional editor (not my editor): "Um, this section makes me think there's a key, somewhere, that will unlock the treasure."

And I'm all: "Duh, of course there's a key. It was hidden on the earth like a century ago, in a cave in the Andes mountains. That's like the crux of the book."

fictional editor: "Where is this information in the book?"

me: "Silly editor. That all happened before the book begins. I don't want to waste my time with backstory."

fictional editor (with a sigh): "So how is the reader supposed to know about it?"

me: "I'm beginning to see your point... I'd just hate to spoon-feed every detail to the reader."

fictional editor: "Then perhaps you'd rather just give the readers the title of the book, and tell them to figure out the story."
me: "Fine. I'll tell them there's a key. But I'm keeping mum on the dragon that lives below the school."

fictional editor: "Good, because this isn't a fantasy."

*The above conversation is completely made up. There is no key in my book. And of course there's no such thing as the Andes Mountain range.

So, here's my second tip:

It's Okay to Let the Reader in on the Story

Are any of you revising? What have you learned along the way?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Why I Hate Halloween... And the Art of Yoda

It's November. Thank Heavens.

So, a lot of you know my dad is battling Pancreatic Cancer. (Yeah, it's the really crappy kind. Like if Lord of the Rings was about Cancer, Pancreatic would be Sauron. Or Saruman. Which one is the big red burning eye?)
(My Dad's on the left)

Anywho, he was diagnosed exactly 3 years ago on Halloween. Yeah, that Halloween really sucked. We found out after we'd already dressed up in our costumes, so I remember that year as a bunch of people in costumes, sitting on my sister's porch, balling our guts out. Even the clown was crying. 

My Dad is currently beating the disease, but every few months the doctors test his blood for signs of recurrence. Last Halloween, we had a scare. Again, it was the costumes and the crying. This Halloween, we had another scare. And again, the costumes and the crying. 

Halloween has become this day where we're dressing our kids up as ghosts and ghouls, all the while crying about the really scary things in life.

Thankfully, we just found out his tumor marker went back down again. I don't know what it is about Halloween that makes his blood go all wonky, but it's getting to the point where I just want to skip October completely. 

Since that's not possible, here are some pics from our Halloween. Really, we were mostly happy!

 Who knew Darth Vader could look so harmless?

 Yep. It's Kid B behind the mask. And let me tell you, there's nothing more fun than a Halloween Parade at a school where most of the kids don't like things touching their skin...

 The formidable duo of Kid C and Kid B. Tell me that wouldn't scare you to open your door to find these two on your front porch, demanding candy.

This is my nephew A on the right and his friend F. I had to take this pic because Kid C kept trying to describe F's costume:
Kid C: "He's a chicken. With magnets."

me: "What?"

Kid C (exasperated): "A Chicken! He's a magnetic Chicken!!"

So, when I finally saw the costume, it all made sense.

The trick-or-treating gang. My favorite is the Grim Reaper, standing off to the side, contemplating the best way to decapitate the group with one swing of his scythe. 
It also reminds me of a joke: "Okay, so Mario, Luigi, Darth Vader, a couple of ninjas and the Grim Reaper all walk into a bar..."

While we were waiting for Kid B's parade to start, Kid C sat in the middle of the floor, breathing in an out loudly through his nose. 

He said he was doing Yoda to calm himself.

His teacher's from India, and she teaches them the Yoda from her home country. 

 How was all y'all's Halloween? Do you have the same traditions as we do? i.e., Do you sit around on a random porch, all dressed up and balling your guts out?