Thursday, May 19, 2011

Halloween...in May!

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??


Edie Ramer said...

I'm craving a Butterfingers! Thank you very much for that. (I will not buy a Butterfingers when I go to the store, I will not buy one...)

What a great evening! It must've been so fun.

I'm finishing the first draft of my book this week, I hope. Nothing exciting, but I'm happy about it.

Marilyn Brant said...

Ha! I love Butterfingers, too, Edie! As for finishing your first draft -- AWESOME!!!! And I think the feeling of accomplishment at that is *really* exciting. Congrats!

Pamela Cayne said...

How wonderful!!! I am completely jealous and totally in awe of such amazing women (you, too, Ms. Brant!)

And yes--Butterfingers for everybody in celebration of Edie's typing of The End!!

Marilyn Brant said...

Aw, Pam, thank you!! It was really a blast ;). And I totally concur with having a few Butterfingers in Edie's honor!

Hugs to you both!! xo

Pamala Knight said...

What a WONDERFUL book club/party!!! That is the greatest idea, especially since every time I read the Halloween party scene (yes, I re-read Friday Mornings At Nine because it's awesome!), I always wish that someone would invite me to just such a party.

Thanks for sharing your photos and experience with us Marilyn.

Maria Geraci said...

What a great idea! So creative. I love it!

I'm getting ready to go to Melbourne (my hometown) where I'll attend the STAR RWA chapter meeting. They have a terrific guest lined up so I'm pretty excited. After that, we'll be taking the youngest to college orientation. Busy, busy!

Robin said...

Ohmygosh ~ that is so totally cool! What a wonderful and fun bunch of ladies. Thanks for sharing all the details with us, Marilyn! It really makes my day when I get to live vicariously through you. :)

Yay to Edie - chocolate bars all around!

Marilyn Brant said...

Pamala, thank you, my dear!! I had so much fun coming up with the details of that party that it was really exciting and so cool to see it brought to life. Would love to have a gathering like that for all my writing peeps, too :).

Maria, your youngest is going to college?! Oh, wow! It's amazing how fast the time goes... Hope the orientation is a good one and that your chapter meeting is fun, too!

Robin, they are lovely ladies, just like all of you here ;). Wish I could introduce everyone to each other in person!! BTW, *gorgeous* Hawaii photos! I saw your latest post last night...just lovely.

Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!

Caryn said...

That is SO COOL!! It must have been fun - and probably surreal - to see your words come to life. What a great idea for a book club!

Marilyn Brant said...

Thanks, Caryn!! It was fun and very touching, too. I still can't believe all the work they did to pull it together. Really sweet ;). Hope you're having a great weekend and getting more sun there than we are here!!

Wall-to-wall books said...

Is that your kitchen? If so, I LOVE your backsplash (or wall behind the food) I clicked on the pictures just I could get a closer look. While other people are looking at the yummy food, I am looking at the wall, LOL!!!

Marilyn Brant said...

Wall-to-Wall~Ohhh, I *wish* it were my kitchen!! It's Claudia's (she's a professional artist ;), and I love all the beautiful little touches in her house. It's lovely! I don't blame you at all for focusing on the backsplash rather than the food, LOL. (And thanks for teaching me a new word, too!)

Kate Sterling said...

Oh, that sounds fun! I belong to three Halloween Artist groups, so Halloween in May is just par for the course as far as I'm concerned. :)

Mmmm.... Butterfingers... :)

Marilyn Brant said...

Kate, I've never heard of a Halloween Artists group, but it sounds like great fun!! What do you do as part of the group? I love to know more about it! Claudia, who hosted the book club, told me that Halloween is her favorite holiday. I always loved it, too, but I only have a fraction of the decorations and cool things she has...

And, yes, there should be Butterfingers for ALL. Right now!! ;)

Kate Sterling said...

Hi Marilyn,

Here are some links to a few of the groups' sites. They gather and sell on ebay, on etsy, on their blogs and on their official websites. We encourage one another, hang together, promote together, offer tips and shoulders to cry on.

Much like writers' blogs! lol

HA31 (Halloween Artists 31) Group: http://halloweenartists.com/

AHQU (Artistic Halloween Queens Unite) Group:

SEHA (Society of Eclectic Halloween Artists) Group:

If you get me some Butterfingers, I might just be bribed to make something for you... :)

Marilyn Brant said...

Kate, this is SO COOL!! I just looked at the first link so far, but I loved seeing pictures of some of the artistic things you and your friends have done -- they're really wonderful! Thank you so much for telling me about these groups (will have to share the links with Claudia!) and you just let me know where to send my Butterfinger bribes... *g*