Today we are thrilled to be celebrating the official book launch of Out of Breath, and to celebrate we’re hosting a day-long, virtual Halloween bash right here, on this blog.
The nice thing about an online party is that it begins when you show up, and it goes all day — and all evening. To join us, simply scroll down to the comment box and leave your comment, recipe, question, etc.
We will, however, end our giveaways at midnight Pacific time — so if you’re interested in winning a copy of Out of Breath (we’re giving away both print and e-editions today), stay tuned for the myriad ways you’ll be able to enter. And for all you Kindle users out there: Out of Breath will be $2.99 for one last day, i.e., today.
Throughout the day, we’ll also be posting new reviews, recipes for Halloween treats, and Blair Richmond’s answers to your questions about Out of Breath as well as the sequel, THE GHOST RUNNER, which she is working on right now.
This psychotically happy pumpkin reflects how I feel about Halloween: I love it. And first I’d like to chat about one of the most fun aspects of Halloween: candy. (When it comes to eating candy, I must admit that for me, every day is Halloween.) And as we go about celebrating all the joys of a good sugar high, why not celebrate it in a cruelty-free way?
Here’s a list I’ve compiled, from various sources, of vegan candy:
- Airheads taffy
- Cracker Jack
- Hubba Bubba bubblegum
- Jolly Ranchers (lollipops and hard candy)
- Jujubees & Jujyfruits
- Lemonheads, Mambas
- Mike and Ike
- Newman’s Own Licorice Twists
- Now and Later
- Sour Patch Kids
- Swedish Fish
- Sweet Tarts
And let’s not forget about the chocolate! Two chocolate makers that I love both pride themselves on sustainable practices, fair trade, and giving back to the communities that provide their ingredients.
Endangered Species also makes delicious vegan chocolate — and better yet, the company donates 10% of net profits to fund species and habitat conservation efforts. Among my favorites: All-Natural Dark Chocolate with Mint, All-Natural Extreme Dark Chocolate, All-Natural Dark Chocolate with Cranberries and Almonds, and All-Natural Supreme Dark Chocolate.
And if you’re anywhere near a Trader Joe’s, try one of their vegan chocolates: the 70% and 72% dark chocolate bars, and the 73% Belgian dark chocolate non-pareils. Yum.
Okay, now that you’re armed with all the candy you’ll need, we look forward to your questions, your recipes — and we’ll soon be posting info on the first giveaway!
UPDATE: For our first giveaway (for a paperback copy of Out of Breath), here’s all you need to do: Tweet about the virtual book launch party using the hashtags #Halloween and #OOB_party. You’ll be automatically entered in the giveaway, and a winner will be randomly selected sometime after midnight.
UPDATE: Many thanks to Alex at Electrifying Reviews, who is generously giving away an advance review copy of Out of Breath — and this giveaway lasts another two weeks! Enter now at Electrifying Reviews.
UPDATE: Wondering what you’ll do with all those pumpkin seeds once the carving’s done? The Vegan Version has just stopped by with a few amazing recipes for savory and sweet pumpkin seeds! (See comment below.) And a recipe for cute and delicious mummies, too.
UPDATE: Q&A with Blair Richmond:
Q: What inspired you to write about vampires, and how did you come up with the idea of a vegan vampire?
A: Living in the Northwest, hiking in the fog and ancient forests, it’s hard to not have creepy thoughts from time to time. After all, there are still Bigfoot sightings in these parts from time to time! I’ve always loved Bram Stoker’s novel and I’ve followed the evolution of vampires through the eyes of contemporary writers. But when I saw the vampires in Twilight referred to as “vegetarian” because they “only” killed animals, I felt inspired to help vampires evolve a bit further. So I decided to come up with a green version. I’m a bit of a birder, and we have a bird here called a “sapsucker,” which lives symbiotically off the trees, and that’s what first gave me the idea.
Q: What has been the feedback from more mainstream young people? Are they receptive to the healthy lifestyle (i.e. running, veganism/vegetarianism)?
A: People love that it’s set in a place where nature is a big part of life. And I’ve been happily surprised that mainstream readers are curious and supportive about the veggie themes of the book. This is great, because I wanted to have a heroine who’s healthy and vibrant to show that veganism is compatible with an athletic lifestyle. I was unhappily surprised to get some negative reviews from vegan bloggers, which was interesting. I think there’s a perception with some people that if you love animals you have to be a perfect vegan. I love animals and don’t eat them, but I’m not a perfect vegan. I’m like Kat, in the book – I do my best but I still eat dairy on occasion. I don’t think we should apologize for it because we’re still doing a lot of good by not eating animals. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t aim to be 100 percent vegan – that is always my goal – but it means we should forgive ourselves and each other for not being perfect. No human is. I wanted to write a character that is imperfect because she is more real that way. Most readers seem to focus on the romance and the running and the mystery of Kat’s past, and so the fact that Kat and some of the vampires are vegan isn’t really a huge part of the story, just one aspect of it.
UPDATE: …another Q, another A:
Q: I would like to know what running means to Blair, assuming she is a runner: Is it an escape? Is it an endorphin rush? And is it difficult (or, perhaps, easier) to be a vegan runner as opposed to a meat-eating, flexitarian, or vegetarian one?
A: Running, for me, is both an escape and an adventure. Kat is clearly a much better runner than I’ll ever be and many of my runs often end up as hikes. But I love to get out of the house and escape into the woods. I don’t wear a watch. I don’t worry about my time. And I don’t particularly care for marathons or any of those types of races that Kat likes. I just like to be alone with the trees and my thoughts. Much of Out of Breath came from my time meandering through the forests. And as for diet, I haven’t really noticed any change of energy level since I gave up meat. I think I’m actually healthier, though I have a policy against weighing myself!
UPDATE, November 1: Thanks to all who joined us to celebrate Halloween here yesterday! Special thanks to those who sent questions and brought recipes! And congratulations to Carol, who won a copy of Out of Breath — and don’t forget that Electrifying Reviews is hosting a giveaway that ends on November 14, so you’ve still got a couple weeks to enter.