Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Lost Saint Launch Party

The other night I went over to The Kings English Bookshop to see the book launch of Bree Despain's The Lost Saint. (This photo was taken by Heather at Fire and Ice (by Little Red Reads) blog).


Bree told us how different it was to write her first book (that got published) vs her second now that she was on a deadline/contract.


She also read an excerpt for us.

Bree is so fun! If you ever get a chance to meet her, take it!

Again, like last time we went, she had nail polish to match the covers of her books. Here is Bree signing a copy for Brie who won the book here on my blog!

Our lovely group! Above: Jenni, Danylle, Bree, Me, Heidi, Olivia, Heather.
(Thanks for the photo below Jenni!)


Did you know my name is actually in The Lost Saint? Because it is. :) And in case you were wondering, yes I did do a little happy dance.



Any books you're looking forward to reading this year?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays


Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Temple Nights


(I took this photo in Dec 2010 at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Snow Play Day


We got dumped on last night. I rolled out of bed this morning and ran outside to help push my neighbor out of her driveway. Then since I was out I shoveled the sidewalks and driveways (no way am I driving to the gym today and figured it would burn some good calories), though it's still snowing right now, about two hours later so I'll most likely have to go back out. My hubby came out to shovel but I'd rather shovel so I sent him to play with the kids (he does that better anyway).

They opted for a fort instead of cave so my hubby and my neighbor helped the kids build it. And of course we needed to paint our creation when we were done. Just a little food coloring in some water bottles.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Halo Reach


Halo Reach was released in September 2010 to fans that have been anticipating this game for over a year. Reach is a prequel to it's brothers Halo's 1-3. (The original Halo was released back in 2001.) There have also been two other games Halo ODST and Halo Wars.



Game Type: first person shooter
Developed by: Bungie
Price: $60 (at launch, you may find it on sale now for around $45)
Gaming System: Xbox 360
Players: 1-4 (Split screen option available)

Buy it here:



Pros:
+graphics (seriously incredible)
+build your own maps
+customize your gameplay
+Sandbox feature
+HUGE maps
+If you liked the others, you'll like this one
+Plus it's just more fun Halo
+Another campaign to fight your way through.

Cons:
-It almost seems too much like the others. (As in the maps are mostly the same.)


Overall it's a fantastic game with a lot of fun playtime. I've played a lot of first person shooter and I'd easily say Halo is in my top two. I think it's easy to learn to play and stay in the game and there are a lot of fun options for multiplayer. If you're looking for some challenging computer AI the campaign mode will have you covered.

Do you play Xbox? What games do you enjoy?


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Signing with Richelle Mead

Richelle Mead stopped off in SLC on her tour for the last book in the Vampire Academy series we all went to the Salt Lake Library to meet the fabulous lady.

What's more fun then going with a fun group of girls(Meagan, Malea, Heather & Olivia) ? Dressing up in matching, eye catching shirts! Olivia came up with this rockin idea and even made them all for us.

It was big crowd! We were up near the back in the corner but this at least gives you an idea. The room was packed.


Richelle Mead was SO sweet. Honestly the Q&A was lame, because of the questions asked but Richelle did a great job and even offered to let us ask her questions when we met her. She didnt rush through signing our books and really took a minute to talk to each one of us.

On the way out we had to get another shot! The sweet ladies of The Kings English (who hosted this signing) snapped this shot of us. I love all the great events they have going on over there.

Oh yes, and check out Richelle's blog. We're famous!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I tried the new fries!

Remember the other day when I was talking about Wendys changing their fries? I'd say the overall response I got on my blog and facebook was highly negative and skeptical.

Of course I had to take my family in to try them and I gotta admit, hearing all your concerns I was a little nervous. Never fear! I'm happy to report to you dear readers that I enjoyed them. A lot. I even went back a second time (yah twist my arm) and tried them again just to be sure. (The second time around we went for dinner so my hubby was able to join us and he likes them too!)

To me they had the same great crispiness as before. I'm sure it might depend on where you go but both times I went I had different amounts of salt on my fries and to me both were fine (not too much like I was afraid of). And they're still SUPER dippable in the frosty, if you go for that sorta thing. :)



Have you tried them yet? What'd you think?
Do we need to go to lunch together so we can chat and try them?

If you want to try them for yourselves, here's a coupon for some free fries.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Carl Bloch: The Master's Hand (on exhibit)

My in-laws were in Utah tonight so we decided to take them to the Museum of Art over at BYU to see the Carl Bloch's exhibit. Incredible!



For $3 you can rent an iPad that has video, text and pictures. We got one to share and I think I had it 95% of the time.


It was so fascinating to read about the images and learn more about his life. My husband liked this one of his parents. You could tell exactly what those textures were and how they were supposed to feel.


If you're in Utah, you gotta go check it out (I think it's there until the beginning of May). Tickets are free.


Besides the multiple other paintings there the exhibit has five alterpaintings, four of them being moved for the first time.


You can download some of the images but seriously they are amazing in person!

The Lost Saint (Winner)

Congrats to the winner of the signed copy of The Lost Saint.



Thanks to random.org it picked lucky commenter #6
BRIE

Email me your address and tell me what name you'd like me to have her put in your book.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The North Pole Express by Heber Valley Railroad

Tonight my family had the opportunity to ride The North Pole Express by the Heber Valley Railroad. We arrived a bit early so we all sat in our car and read The Polar Express to get into the spirit of the night ahead.

My kids were so thrilled to hear we were going on a real honest to goodness train! We were the second group on the train so we picked a good spot so we could be sure to see Santa and the North Pole later on in the trip.

We got to talk to the conductor and my 7 y/o was thrilled to get to hold a sign for the song The 12 Days of Christmas. (She also got to talk in the microphone a few times, she thought she was awesomesauce!

A shot of the helpers signing, my kids talking to Santa Clause and an appearance by Mrs. Clause. (She gave us a recipe to make Santa's favorite cookies. The kids and I are going to try it out this weekend.)

I also got to meet Jordan (@Mamablogga). How fun is it to run into people in real life after you've been chatting with them online. So great! Thanks Jordan for letting me borrow the picture you took of us! (Also @makeitworkmom, @emihill, @livingthescream @jillakaufusi @jenndola @sahans were there too!)


My kids LOVED the train ride. Afterwards my 4 y/o was so excitable she was talking crazy loud about how she got to talk to Santa and see the North Pole. I think my 3 y/o favorite part was the chocolate cookie. We sang Christmas carols as we rode the train through town, watching the evening lights fade.

Overall it was a fun night. I'm grateful to Heber Valley Railroad for letting my family experience this fun event and for helping us to make some fun memories.

Some fun perks:
+Staff was super friendly and nice. (Nice lady at the gift shop told us what side to sit on so we could see Santa.)
+We all got a cookie and hot chocolate.
+We got to see Santa & Mrs. Clause (and even get a toy from santa!)
+A real train ride!
+Fun atmosphere
+They passed out songbooks and jingle bells for us to sing along.
+It was fun to sing songs with a train full of people and feel the Christmas spirit.
+The Conductor came out to say hi.
+The kids got name tags so Santa could address them personally.

A few things I would have preferred:
-It was a bit long. I think overall it was about 1.5 hrs.
-The hot chocolate was super hot and all of us got large cups of it. Had I known before I was handed one I would have gotten 2 cups for my family of 5 to share. (Since it was too hot to drink my kids didn't want to hold theirs so we were stuck trying to juggle a lot of cups and kids.)
-The MC to be a little more lively and entertaining.
-We had to give back the jingle bells and songbooks (dig in my purse as we were exiting).



If you're interested in a fun night out here are some details:


Families Experience a Magical Holiday Journey Aboard The North Pole Express


Heber Valley Railroad’s “North Pole Express” Gives a New Twist to a Family Tradition
HEBER CITY, Utah — Heber Valley Railroad’s “North Pole Express” is a magical journey Utah families will treasure this holiday season. As a new twist on an old tradition, the North Pole Express will feature a live reading of “The Night Before Christmas,” a classic holiday favorite that will come to life as families enjoy a festive ride to the North Pole.
Guests aboard the North Pole Express will enjoy singing carols, sipping hot chocolate and eating cookies while reading along or listening to the “The Night Before Christmas.” Children are encouraged to wear their pajamas for the ride. Upon arrival at the North Pole, Santa and his sleigh will greet the children and give each child a special Christmas gift.
Tickets are now on sale for this popular holiday train, which is a long-standing tradition for thousands of Utah families. First class service is available most weekends during the North Pole Express schedule. Due to the high demand for tickets, the Heber Valley Railroad is offering two matinee excursions on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 23-24, 2010.
The North Pole Express will depart every Monday through Saturday through December 24, 2010.
Nightly Excursions
  • Depart 5 p.m.; return 6:30 p.m.
  • Depart 7:30 p.m.; return 9 p.m.
Matinee Excursions (December 23-24 only)
  • Depart 2 p.m.; return 3:30 p.m.
Schedule and Fares
Family Night: December 1, 2, 6, 13
  • $29 adult, $26 senior (ages 60 and above), $18 child (ages 3-12)
Coach: December 3, 4, 7-11, 14-18, 20-23
  • $32 adult, $29 senior (ages 60 and above), $21 child (ages 3-12)
First Class: December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 20-23
  • $47 adult, $44 senior (ages 60 and above), $36 child (ages 3-12)
Matinee: December 23, 24
  • $29 adult, $26 senior (ages 60 and above), $18 child (ages 3-12)
General Tickets can be purchased by calling SmithsTix at 800-888-TIXX, by calling the railroad at 435-654-5601, online at www.HeberValleyRailroad.org, or at the Heber Valley Depot, 450 South 600 West, Heber City. For more information and directions, contact the Heber Valley Railroad at 435-654-5601 or visit www.HeberValleyRailroad.org.

About the Heber Valley Railroad
The Heber Valley Historic Railroad dates back to 1899, when trains served the pioneers who first settled the valley, and now operates as a nonprofit organization. Depending upon availability, vintage coaches are pulled over this beautiful vista either by one of two 1907 Baldwin steam locomotives or by one of three vintage diesel electric locomotives. Over 95,000 passengers ride the train each year, and that number is steadily growing. For more information on the Heber Valley Railroad and its 2010 schedule, visit www.HeberValleyRailroad.org.

Special Discount for YOU!
They've graciously offered to give my readers $5 off coach tickets on December 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16. You'll need to call the train directly at 435-654-5601 and ask for the “Utah Blogger” discount and be prepared to tell the train the name of my blog: Cranberryfries.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Author Interview with Bree Despain

Readers, let me invite you to get to know the fabulous Bree Despain.

I met Bree because of my cousin Brodi (they're in the same writing group). I started reading Bree's blog and the opportunity came up to be on her Street Team for The Dark Divine. I was selected and got to do all sorts of cool things like make a book trailer, wear my fun shirt around town, pass out bookmarks and stickers and attend her release party. It was all super fun.

Then I started going to more author events around town and we kept running into each other and eventually visiting more and hanging out a bit. Bree is hilarious. Seriously. Especially if she's trying to drink water. :) (That one is for you Bree, notice I didnt include any incriminating photographs, just like I promised.)

Oh and just FYI, Bree's currently giving away a pretty big prize over on her blog (promise to come back over here and finish reading and I'll tell you what it is ok?). Go on over and comment to be entered to win a Kindle!

So on with the interview.




1. What was the best advice you got before you were published (or on your writing journey) ?

The best advice I ever got was to be prepared for it to take about 10 years of serious writing before you'll get published. At first I found this discouraging, but about 7 years into my wanna-be-writing career, I embraced it. I started telling people I was 7 years into my my 10 year plan to get published. People really respected that, and didn't feel bad for not being published yet. Luckily, I sold my book at 9 years and I felt really good about beating my goal.

2. If you could meet one of your characters for lunch who would it be and what would you talk to them about?

I would love to take a ride on the back of Daniel's motorcycle and then have a picnic in a park while he told me everything he hopes will happen in TDD3.

3. What’s been a fun perk of being published?

All the fun people I've met so far. I'm an author-fan-girl at heart, so getting to meet other authors is a lot of fun. I've shared meals with greats like Holly Black, Melissa Marr, Ally Carter, Jenn Lynne Barnes, Margarette Stohl, Kami Garcia, Jay Asher and so many more awesome authors. Oh, and I danced to "The Love Shack" with M.T. Anderson.

4. Looking forward to anything in the future?

The paperback release of THE DARK DIVINE on November 23rd, and the release of THE LOST SAINT on December 28th. Also, TDD has been optioned for a movie, so I am really hoping something happens with that.

5. Any upcoming events I can tell my readers about?

We're having a big launch party on December 28th at the King's English Bookshop for THE LOST SAINT and everybody is invited. The event starts at 7pm, and I'll be speaking in the art gallery next-door to the bookstore, so there will be plenty of room for everyone.

6. I heard you say once you filled your living room with giant post it notes to help yourself brainstorm ideas for The Lost Saint, the sequel to The Dark Divine. Have you done anything crazy to help come up with ideas for your next books?

Well, I did the post-it note thing again, but not on as big of a scale. My Wonder Woman notebook is current brainstorming tool of choice.


7. How’s your new house coming along?

Totally great. Both floors are framed out and it has a roof. The best part about the new house is that I'll actually have an office to wallpaper with giant post-its instead of the living room.

8. What song is on your playlist right now for your current project?

"Orange Sky" by Alexi Murdoch

9. After TDD was published, be honest, did you go test driving vintage mustangs?

Not yet. I mostly just stare at them longingly when I see them on the side of the road. Sigh. Maybe someday.

10. I’ve been dieing to know, is your husband’s real name Brick?

No, actually. His first name is Owen, but he's never gone by that. He's always been called by his middle name: Bricklan. When I met him he went by Bricky, but now that he's older, he prefers Brick.

11. Your family gets pretty decked out for Halloween. It’s a big holiday in my house too. Is this collaboration by both you and your husband or does one of you like it more than the other?

Both hubby and I are big Halloween geeks. It comes from being drama geeks together. But hubs went to college on a drama scholarship and was required to take a costume design class, so he's the one in our house who knows how to sew. He hand-makes a lot of our costumes.

12. What’s a good book you’ve read this year that you’d recommend to others?

My fave book I've read this year was ONCE WAS LOST by Sara Zarr. I'm currently reading THE GHOST AND THE GOTH by Stacey Kade and I'm really enjoying it.

Thank you so much for the fabulous chat Bree! I sure appreciate it!


Add Bree Despain's books to your: Goodreads | Shelfari

Buy Bree Despain's books: The Kings English | The Book Depository



Win it!
In honor of my cameo (my name appearing in the book The Lost Saint!) I'll be giving away a signed copy of The Lost Saint (after it comes out). To enter leave a comment by December 10, 2010.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Pirate Auction


(Photo taken by me in Anaheim California at Disneyland in October 2010)
(Also can I just say how hard it is to get a decent photo in the dark while moving without using a flash?)