Every once in a long while an experience comes along that's a combination of surprising, heartwarming, funny and so fabulous that trying to explain it defies words. Thankfully, I had my camera with me last Friday night, which is the only thing that gives me a fighting chance at describing the incredible book club I visited.
My first clue that it was going to be a really unique evening should have been the big Halloween decoration on front door. But Claudia was hosting the event, and she's an artist. Her house is filled with lots of cool crafts and gorgeous paintings. So I thought, "Maybe she just kept it up from the fall because she likes the look of it or, maybe, she forgot to put it away." I could totally relate to that. One winter I put up these snowflake window clings and I just never got around to talking them down. And then it was, like, September, and my son said, "Mom! Why are there STILL snowflakes up?" And all I could say back was, "Ohhh, yeah, those (sheepish shrug). Well, we're getting really close to Christmas again. It's gonna snow any day now..." So, you see, when I spot hanging jack-o-lanterns up on doors in mid-May, I don't judge.
Turns out, though, that Claudia hadn't been forgetful. And it wasn't any kind of a nod to the spookiness of the date: Friday the 13th. Nope. Because when I rang the bell and the door opened, there were three people greeting me -- Claudia, her sister Allison, and their long-time friend Terri -- who were in costume. (And so was Lily the dog!) And they were dancing...to the sounds of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours CD. That's when I finally understood what these awesomely creative ladies had done: They'd brought to life my book's Halloween party!! (Pictured right: Marty, Marcie, Allison, Claudia and Terri)
For those of you who've read Friday Mornings at Nine, you're familiar with the big party (for adults only) in the middle of the book. It had a fairy tale theme, so most of the food served had a name twisted to fit. Like the "Three Bloody Pigs in a Blanket," the "Jack and the Bean Dip" and the "Headless Gingerbread Men." Well, they recreated the food, too (!!), plus made up a few dishes of their own. Terri, gorgeously dressed in retro 1970s red, even concocted a version of my "Witch's Brew," which I strongly suspect was more potent than the stuff I'd envisioned for the novel's party chapter. (I was feeling a little lightheaded after only half a glass!) Take a peek at all the fabulous treats:
Yum! Loved trying these delicious foods. (FYI: they tasted a lot better than their names would indicate. ;)
More yum!! Gluten-free pasta with pesto, vegetarian and non-vegetarian pigs in a blanket, hilarious headless gingerbread men...
Check out the adorable Halloween napkins and plates, too.
Very strong drinks with the inspired addition of sour gummy worms. Wish I would have thought to add those to the Witch's Brew mix in the book -- they were perfect!
And there were even wrapped Halloween candies taped to the wall -- just as I'd written it in the story. At different moments during the night, one of us would pull a Kit Kat or a Snickers off the wall and eat it. At other times a Butterfingers would spontaneously drop to the floor and *someone* would have to grab it and devour it at once... It was the best!
Here (pictured right) are Terri, Claudia and Beth at the table with our spook-tacular feast.
Janet (pictured left with Claudia) brought a photo album along with pictures from her wonderful European trip and, also, shared a story with me about her "battle with Betty White" in the bookstore to get my novel, LOL. Loved that!
(Pictured left: Claudia, Allison and Dori) And, finally, Dori showed up wielding an ax for, um, the "beheading" scene. (Hee!! It makes sense in context. ;) Claudia was the instigator and Allison -- the book club's president -- was the unwitting victim. I. Couldn't. Stop. Laughing.
Truly, they thought of everything. I half expected my characters to slip in through the back door, sit down at the table with us, unwrap a Twix from the wall and join us in a debate about relationships and Stevie Nicks. I loved every second of Friday night, and I can't thank this wonderful book club enough for giving me one of the most memorable evenings I've ever had as an author. Claudia, Allison, Terri, Marcie, Marty, Beth, Janet and Dori: XOXOXOX (Can't wait to name characters after you all. :)
However, I'm seriously craving a mini Hershey bar right about now, and I've been humming "Dreams" nonstop all week... What's going on for all of you??