Colleen Houck


“Chapped rats and bats' wings, brandied worms and adders' stings, Goat's wool and owl's hoot, fish's tongue and dog's foot. Into the potion, all you go, add clockwork hearts, positioned so…" The Lantern's Ember

Colleen's blog


  • Reawakened Tour Stop, Brazil!

    November 20, 2015


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    Colleen travelled to Brazil by invitation this past August to see and meet some of her hugest fans. I was lucky to be her plus one on this trip!

     A little about me: I’m Colleen’s husband, Brad. I’m the youngest of four kids. I’ve been Deaf since I was five so I watch every movie with caption glasses. I love sports and reading (I’ll admit I’ve read Twilight but prefer thrillers like Jack Reacher). My favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip. I’ll never turn down a taco. I write poetry. My man credentials include: a high school career in wrestling, watching sports every time my wife is too busy to notice, a receding hairline, two repaired ACL’s, and a stockpile of Axe body wash.

    My Trip to Brazil!

    Brazil was an awesome experience!!  But not in the ways you might think.  You’re probably thinking visits to the Amazon, exotic beaches at Rio, or scouring through trendy downtown Sao Paulo.  We did none of those things.   Instead, we were taken on a whirlwind trip, courtesy of Colleen’s publisher Editora Arqueiro, to 5 major cities in 7 days. We had little time for sightseeing or enjoying Brazil’s tourist attractions but still managed to come away feeling as if we had a much richer experience than the typical tourist would.

    RIO DE JANEIRO 

    We were able to fly first class and that meant we got to try out the new sleeper seats that turned into beds. It was fun playing with all the buttons and figuring out how everything worked. It was the most comfortable flight I’ve ever been on.

    As soon as we exited the plane in Rio de Janeiro, I immediately noticed that the smell wafting through the airport was different. The best I can describe it is a combination of humidity and an industrial smell, which in fact permeated throughout Rio.  There was a lot of construction going on in preparation for the Olympics!

    On the road, we quickly noticed the insanity of our taxi driver, who was a nice enough guy, mind you, but we must have had ten near-accidents as other cars sped by us literally within millimeters of our taxi. The dotted white lines on the road were merely suggestions; they went unheeded as though they didn’t exist at all and drivers competed for gaps to pull ahead of each other. The driver, of course, seemed to anticipate all of this as a normal occupational hazard.  The insanity of the drivers was surpassed by the frequent motorcyclists’ daring maneuvers between lines of cars.

    Our hotel was next to the Bienal—Brazil’s largest book festival—which was about an hour away from downtown, pretty much on the outskirts of Rio. Rain fell during the entire festival, so we contented ourselves with hanging out at the hotel for a few days, and tasting the local cuisine.

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    We went to a mall, the largest one we’d ever seen. It had not one but multiple food courts, at least three bookstores, and countless shops. We experimented with ordering things to eat that we didn’t know the names of and ended up with a hearts of palm crepe and a cheese melt burger with a sweet onion jam. Each shop had multiple employees standing around waiting to serve customers.

    Colleen’s scheduled event at the festival was on Saturday evening. That night, we were driven in a golf cart from the hotel to the side entrance of the auditorium which was packed with 500 screaming fans awaiting Colleen’s entrance. The excitement was palpable and the crowd buzzed with energy from the moment of her entry until the last fan’s book was signed nearly five hours later.  Each fan that approached Colleen gave her a hug and chatted passionately about her books, either through a Portuguese interpreter or in their best English, while I embossed each fan’s Reawakened novel. I looked on with great interest at the intense reactions of fans as they greeted her. Fans generously gave notes and gifts and chocolates.  I was surprised to note that approximately 15% of the crowd were males.

     

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    Colleen mentioned her love of the cheese bread the hotel served in the mornings as well as the passionfruit cake. When we returned to our room, we found a lovely note from the hotel with the recipe printed out in English along with a glazed passion-fruit cake big enough for us to share.

    Passion Fruit Cake

     

    CURITIBA

    On Sunday afternoon we took to the skies and flew south-bound to Curitiba, Brazil’s 9th largest city with over a million occupants. We stayed in a lush hotel there and marveled that people were wearing jackets, jeans, and boots in 15 degrees Celsius weather (or 60 degrees Fahrenheit). The Curitiba book event took place on Monday in a book store jam-packed with hundreds of fans enthusiastically greeting Colleen. Again, she was bombarded with generous gifts, goodies, and notes. The bookstore staff was great and they organized the event really well.  Colleen was able to share a little bit about Tiger’s Dream and the fans went wild over just hearing Kishan’s name.

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    SAO PAULO

    The next morning we flew to Sao Paulo, the New York City of Brazil, which, like NYC, is littered with skyscrapers, subways, and buses.  We stayed in a downtown hotel adjacent to the book event location. Once again, a long line of fans, numbering in the hundreds, eagerly waited outside the bookstore for a chance to meet Colleen. The book signing lasted well over three hours. As we came to expect, Colleen was showered with gifts and items that we hauled back to our hotel room.  Some fans asked me if I was the husband that inspired the character Ren, and then took selfies with me. I must have posed with fans for about fifty pictures.

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    SALVADOR

    The next morning we flew to our fourth city, Salvador, the 3rd largest in Brazil.  We stayed at a nice resort overlooking the ocean and took a day to relax.

    The book event was located at a book store the following day and here we had our smallest book signing, but the energy and excitement were no less enthusiastic than the previous events.

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    RECIFE

    Friday morning, we flew north to Recife, which means reef, a large tropical city right on the coast. We were warned going in that sharks swam in the water. Another crazy taxi driver transported us to our hotel by the beach.  As I took a leisurely beach stroll, Colleen prepped herself for the final event of her tour.  We entered from the back of the bookstore where a line formed all along the side of the bookstore and out into the mall.  They waved and screamed when Colleen went up the stairs to her signing table. Three hours later, she did a Q/A session with fans who lingered behind, eager to hear her speak and provide answers through her interpreter Thais, a foreign deals representative at Editora Arqueiro Publishing.

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    Thais and Natalia were our guides/chaperones through the week. They did a fantastic job and made our trip very comfortable.  They took us out for authentic Brazilian food and we got to try their version of pizza which was topped with beef jerky and whole green olives pits included and were introduced to various pastries and meat pies. We came to love Guaraná zero and aqua con gas.

    We bid them a sad farewell, with promises to return to the Bienal and promote future novels Colleen has yet to write.  And now I’m craving a coxinhas!

    Thank you so much Thais and Nacha. Hope we see you again soon! We miss you, Brazil!

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    This entry was posted in A Guy's Perspective, Conferences, Events, Fans, Reawakened, Travel.

    5 Responses to Reawakened Tour Stop, Brazil!


    1. Jennifer Lenaghen says:

      Wow Brad! So happy for you and Colleen! What a great experience to share. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us through your blog post. You are a great writer yourself! I really got the feel of your trip.

      Hope to connect again in the future. Let us know if you are ever in the area. Joe and I would love to see you both!

    2. Jessica Van Winkle says:

      Sounds like a whirlwind adventure! Goad you’re as popular as Colleen, though not in the same way. 🙂 Where are you two off to next?

    3. Laura Blum says:

      I love visiting your wife’s website- and am so inspired by her journey into writing. I am so happy for you both! This post was so fun to read- and see the sights of Brazil. Congratulations for the huge success and following- you two are a great duo!

    4. Rianny Silva says:

      I loved this post! I’m from Brazil ( not from the cities above, but from further north), and I also love Colleen’s job!
      Ren and Kelsey have made my “bookworm life” so much more interesting! Now I will start Reawakened.
      I’m happy to see that you two had a good time while in my country! Guaraná is really good hahaha And I do miss cheese bread and coxinha!

      Sorry for the crazy traffic… I have lived in Portland (OR) for more than 1 year now, so I can tell that Oregon’s streets, drivers, etc., are much more “civilized” than the ones in Brazil.

      Hope you all keep in your hearts the love Brazilians have for the work you have done, and maybe you go visit my country again! 😀

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    Colleen Houck
    Colleen Houck

    New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she's not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.